ARRESTED– San Luis Obispo police officer Preston Simmons takes Richard Birchler to patrol car after he was arrested for obstructing traffic at Higuera and Garden
Today’s young generation sees the word hippie and often gloss the era with thoughts of Halloween costumes or style choices.
There was an earnestly moral activist component that relied on political theater more than cold realpolitik.
As the Vietnam war marched on, support for the conflict began to be questioned.
San Luis Obispo was not the hotbed of anti-war protest that say a U.C. Berkley or Kent State were but there were protests. Often hecklers would challenge protests in this area. This protest was organized by Students for New Action, Politics (SNAP) and began about noon at Mission Plaza. About 25 people marched to the courthouse and walked through stores and banks with placards urging customers and workers not to conduct business as usual in protest.
Quoting from the story:
The article goes on in the dry style of the TeeVee show Dragnet to list the names, time and location of arrest and address of the arrestees. The arrests were scattered from 5 to 7 pm.
Richard Lee Birchler, 25, Raymond H. DeGroote Jr., 21, Michael Steff, 18, Thomas Sandercock, 21, John Coe, 20, Eugene W. Clark, 19, Stephen J. Crummy, 22, Paul A Castiglioni, 21, were all caught up in the dragnet.
The men were all draft age. The charges ranged from disturbing the peace to resisting arrest and obstructing traffic. All were released on bail.
The arrests were made by San Luis Obispo police with the aid of sheriff’s deputies. Officers said those arrested for obstructing traffic were marching back and across the street, stopping in the crosswalks and shouting at drivers.
They walked to the Bank of America at Osos and Higuera and went inside, chanting “give peace a chance” and shouting accusations that the bank was involved in the war.
Protests in other parts of the state yielded more arrests. Santa Barbara area had 1,000 people show up for two protests where 42 were arrested. In San Francisco 102 were arrested. Another story floated the idea that all American troops could be withdrawn by late 1972. The last U.S. troops withdrew in March 1973 and the last deaths were Marines assisting in the evacuation of Americans as the South Vietnamese government collapsed during a 1975 offensive from the North.
One photo published here for the first time show protesters walking through a hardware store.
Is this the building that SLO Brew is in now?
Photos were by Wayne Nicholls