Police firing tear gas fought a pitched battle with more than 1,000 students in Saigon on Saturday (July 11).
Police firing tear gas fought a pitched battle with more than 1,000 students in Saigon on Saturday (July 11). Twenty-five students and three United States newsmen were arrested.
The battle began when with the demonstrators, who included a group of "foreign pacifists", tried to march to the U.S. Embassy and stage a protest for peace outside the building.
The heavily-armed police intervened as the demonstrators advanced on the Embassy. They fired dozens of tear gas cannisters into the students' ranks, and drove them back to Saigon University's Agricultural faculty, where they had earlier met.
As they retreated, the students hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at the police, who in turn stepped up the release of tear gas. Seven students were reported to have been slightly injured in the battle.
The three American newsmen -- John Steinbeck jr., Tom Fox and Jenry Liles -- were released after brief questioning at a police station. Police said the newsmen mingled with the demonstrators and had also accepted black armbands from them.
At the two-hour meeting before the march, an American student burned U.S. draft cards. A coffin, said to have contained the remains of victims of the My Lai mass shootings, was carried into the hall. Banners saying "Down with Nixon, the Butcher", and other anti-American slogans were unfurled.
Bishop Paul Moore, Coadjustor of the Episcopalian Diocess of New York City, and Sam Brown, co-chairman of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee in the United States, took part in the demonstration.
They led a contingent of nine Americans, five Australians, three New Zealanders and a Dutchman, who went to Saigon the previous Sunday for talks with local pacifists. The group are backed by an American Quaker organisation called the Fellowship of Reconciliation.
One of the main speakers at the meeting was Charles Palmer, President of the National Student Association: