Conventions help to open up the political process to millions of people. The violence between police and anti-Vietnam war protesters in the streets and parks of Chicago gave the city a black-eye from which it has yet to completely recover. Some confrontations were planned. Some were spontaneous. This one was planned, but nothing happened the way it was supposed to. Many months before the Chicago convention, experienced movement activists decided that it would be an ideal place to confront "the system" and demand an end to the Viet Nam war. They invited one hundred thousand people to come and demonstrate. The City of Chicago responded by refusing to grant permits for any marches and for only one rally.
Around 3:30 pm, a young boy lowered the American flag at a legal rally taking place at Grant Park. The demonstration was made up of 10,000 protestors. They police broke through the crowd and began beating the boy, while the crowd pelted the police with food, rocks, bags of urine, and chunks of concrete. Police fought with the protestors and vice versa. The chants of the protestors shifted from ‘Hell no, we won’t go” to “Pigs are whores.” The gas is going to be used, let that gas come down all over Chicago. . . . If we are going to be disrupted and violated, let this whole stinking city be disrupted and violated."