The Chicago 7: A timeline of the protests, the clashes, the trial and the fallout

By Doug George, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

The Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago in August 1968, in the summer of a tumultuous year. The events of that month, and a subsequent court case, are the subject of the new Aaron Sorkin movie "The Trial of the Chicago 7." Here is a timeline of the protests and subsequent trial that the film explores.


The year 1968 was a year of increasing protests against the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy in June and Martin Luther King Jr. in April and subsequent unrest, including in Chicago's Garfield Park neighborhoods.

The convention was held over four days at the International Amphitheatre on Hasted Street on the South Side. Between Aug. 26-29, the Democratic Party would select Hubert Humphrey as its candidate for the presidential election the following November. (Incumbent president Lyndon B. Johnson had withdrawn; Humphrey would be defeated in the election by Richard Nixon.)


Before and during the convention, rallies and protests were held in downtown lakefront parks, including Grant Park several miles away from the convention site, mostly about American involvement in Vietnam under LBJ. Some were organized by the Yippies, the Youth International Party founded by Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and a few friends and known for their street theater-style protests in New York. Another organizer was the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (aka MOBE).



In Chicago, Mayor Richard J. Daley said repeatedly that "law and order will be maintained" during the convention. Protesters were denied permits to march in the Loop and near the Amphitheatre. Smaller protests and demonstrations in the days leading up to the convention ended with police intervention, including a Yippie-led "nomination" of a pig for president in Civic Center plaza Aug. 23.

The city granted permission for a single afternoon rally in Grant Park on Aug. 28. That rally drew a crowd of several thousand, with a number of protesters afterwards moving into the Loop. They were stopped by police and the National Guard in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel on Michigan Avenue, where the presidential candidates and their campaigns were headquartered. The ensuing clash with police was televised nationwide, with Americans treated to images of tear gas filling the evening air and chaotic and bloody clashes between young protestors and the police, alternating with coverage of Humphrey's nomination.



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