Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper may be a successful businessman and politician, but his memory of large public protests in the 1960s is apparently hazy.
This week the Denver Post published a story about how activists planning to protest the Democratic National Convention in August want permission to camp in public parks.
In the article, Hickenlooper, who was barely of Army enlistment age when the 1960s ended, was quoted as follows:
Hickenlooper recalled the "the big protests in the 1960s."
"You would fill up the Washington Mall — fill it up!" he said. "No one camped out. No one stayed in the park. They all stayed with friends, or took buses back or did whatever they needed to do."
That statement, of course, is ridiculous. Activists in the 1960s (and yes, hippies) did camp out on public land for days at a time.
In 1967 for instance, a massive Washington, D.C., anti-war demonstration of approximately 70,000 participants organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam featured protesters who stayed in parks and public land without being hassled even after a permit for the event had expired. That’s just one example.
Camping out by activists wasn’t just in the nation’s capitol either. Whether protesters would be permitted to camp in parks was one of the top conflicts at the Democratic convention in 1968, when police violently stormed Chicago’s Lincoln Park to expel protesters, as the event degenerated into chaos.