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Kent State would be one moment where antiwar demonstrations connected to both the intense public outrage over the war as well as the power of antiwar demonstrations. At Kent State, the Ohio National Guard fired on a noontime demonstration, killing four students and injuring nine others. The symbolic meaning of the act proved to the nation how completely chaotic the situation in Vietnam was. Four college students died in exercising their First Amendment rights. The use of force had reached an unprecedented high level and the public felt a combination of shame and outrage about what had happened. At the same time, similar demonstrations across more college campuses were held to protest the nature of the war, the deception of the Nixon Administration, and against the draft.
Colleges were often places where demonstrations were held and they often turned violent, especially after the Kent State shootings. Some things that occurred were arson, bombings, and vandalism. An example of the violence that occurred is what happened at Kent State on May 4, 1970. Four peaceful protesters were killed by National Guardsmen during a rally, and others were injured. This greatly angered people.
In response to the Kent State shootings there was a protest called the Kent State/Cambodia Incursion Protest. It happened in Washington DC. Thousands of people marched even though it was put together very quickly.
Strikes were often a result of opposition to the war as well. An example is the National Student Strike. During this protest, more than four million students refused to go to school resulting in many colleges being shut down for the duration. Four hundred and fifty colleges were involved.
In the 1970's anti-war demonstrations tested the Constitution and the Right to Freedom of Speech. Students gathered at colleges because they were witnessing their peers going to Vietnam and being killed or coming back disabled. They were scared themselves and disgusted. In addition, it was the first time that the common age in the United States was the youth’s age. They out numbered the adults.
The students tried to protest peacefully by staging sit-ins. However, the sit-ins often led to police brutality and violence. It all came to a head when students were shot at by the National Guard and died.
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