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1967: Joan Baez arrested in Vietnam protest

Rallies across America have taken place in 30 US cities, from Boston to Atlanta, to protest against the continuing war in Vietnam.

In Oakland, California, at least 40 anti-war protesters, including the folk singer Joan Baez, were arrested for taking part in a sit-in at a military induction centre.

As many as 250 demonstrators had gathered to try and prevent conscripts from entering the building when the arrests were made.

The 'Stop the Draft Week' protests are forming part of a nationwide initiative organised by a group calling itself 'the Resistance'.

Accompanied by singing from Ms Baez and others, the sitting protesters forced draftees to climb over them in order to get inside the building.

As they entered they were handed leaflets asking them to change their minds, refuse induction and join the protests.

Human barricade

Police formed a human barricade to enable inductees to pass and then made their arrests.

In New York, around 500 demonstrators marched to protest against the draft. Young men placed draft cards into boxes marked 'Resisters'.

181 draft cards and several hundred protest cards were presented to a US Marshal but he refused to accept them.

The group then marched to a post office and posted them directly to the Attorney General in Washington.

The anti-war movement took on an added gravity yesterday when Florence Beaumont, mother of two, burned herself to death.

After soaking herself in petrol she set herself alight in front of the Federal Building, Los Angeles.

Counter-demonstrations have been planned by the National Committee for Responsible Patriotism, based in New York.

Parades have been scheduled for the weekend in support of "our boys in Vietnam".

In Context
Joan Baez was a determined war protester as well as a successful singer. She was jailed several times for her political activism during the Vietnam years. On this occasion she got 10 days.

From 1948 until 1973 American men were drafted to fill vacancies in the armed forces which could not be filled through voluntary means.

University students could be exempt though this tended to favour young men from more privileged, high income families.

Others who did not wish to fight could apply for the status of 'Conscientious Objector' on moral or religious grounds.

Many who could not obtain exemption and refused to sign up received prison terms.

In 1973, the draft ended and the US converted to an 'All-Volunteer military'.


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