Mixsonian Larry

War Protest

In May there were Vietnam war protests in Gainesville. A group of students marched across campus on the afternoon of May 9 to Tigert Hall, the administration building, and began a sit-in outside the offices of University President Steven C. O' Connell. Campus police demanded that students leave the area, other students arrived which blocked a section of 13th Street and were disrupting traffic. Student Body President Sam Taylor also asked them to move, but most of the protesters were unwilling to give up their protest.

By 6:30 p.m., the situation worsened with Police throwing tear gas into the crowd, which by then had occupied the block of 13th Street from Tigert Hall to University Avenue. They arrested those who refused to move. Police and reporters covering the disturbance wondered if a National Guard unit from Camp Blanding, about an hour away, would be called in which the Gainesville Police Chief later admitted he'd contacted the Guard about, but he received no response.

I had heard that the protest was going on and drove to the University to check it out.  University Avenue just south of 13th street was blocked by a park bench and other stuff in middle the road.  There was quite a crowd of people wondering about on the road when the police came and announced with a loudspeaker to clear the street.  When that didn’t happen, the police launched tear gas into the crowd dispersing them.  I was at the edge of the crowd on the side opposite the police and when I saw tear gas I begin running.  I did get a some in my eyes, but it was only a small amount and soon cleared up. I decided that was enough and went home.  The paper the next day reported it took police until midnight to fully clear the streets.

Updated: 12-14-2022