Chronology of events

‘Once an emotional chord has been struck, the limit between past and present is no longer regulated by a mathematically measurable chronology.’
– Marc Bloch, historian

Getting your bearings: the key Liverpool events

  • 10 December 1968: Guild Gazette publishes centre-page spread, ‘Shocking Conditions in University Houses’
  • 30 January 1969: sit-in at the Social Sciences building – the first such action at Liverpool University. The sit-in, which lasted 24 hours, was in solidarity with students at the LSE.
  • 15 May 1969: official opening of Senate House by Princess Alexandra is the focus of protests by tenants and students
  • 30 January 1970: ‘Dinner’ protest prevents Lord Salisbury attending the annual Student Union Dinner
  • 9 February 1970: President and entire executive of Guild resign after vote of no confidence
  • 9 March 1970: the occupation of Senate House begins, and continues for 11 days
  • 12 April 1970: Disciplinary hearings result in 9 students being suspended and one expelled
  • 1 May 1970: One day student strike and May Day march
  • 14 May 1970: Appeal hearings uphold most of the original sentences
  • 24 November 1970: In his annual report, VC Thomas condemns “the action by a small minority group of militant students” at Liverpool University this year which, he alleges, “besmirched the enviable reputation which the student body had built for itself.”

The wider counter-culture: how Liverpool events reflected international actions

Turn any corner, Hear what the people say,
You know there’s something that’s goin’ on around here, That surely won’t stand the light of day,
And it appears to be a long time, Such a long, long time before the dawn…

– Crosby, Stills & Nash, ‘Long Time Coming,’ 1969

1967

  • 10 November 1967: students at Nanterre university outside Paris boycott classes. Daniel Cohn-Bendit helps organize the boycott and prepare a list of concerns, including changes in class size, examination standards, and student representation in university councils.

1968

  • 31 January 1968: Tet offensive begins as Vietcong guerrillas attack the U.S. Embassy at Saigon and North Vietnamese forces attack some 30 South Vietnamese cities, including Hue and Saigon, in an effort to topple the military regime
  • 16 March 1968: My Lai massacre in South Vietnam
  • 30 March 1968: Demonstration against Vietnam war outside US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, London; hours of street fighting between police and demonstrators end with 86 people injured and 200 arrested.
  • 4 April 1968: Assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. In response, a wave of riots spread through black areas in over 115 American cities
  • 23 April 1968: Student occupation and closure of Columbia University, New York.
  • 5 May 1968: Radicals occupy the administration building of Nanterre University. Police surround Nanterre, closing down the university.
  • 6 May 1968: first day of demonstrations on the streets of Paris, protesting at police invasion of Sorbonne
    University.

  • 10 May 1968: students force police out of the Latin Quarter after barricades and massive protests.
  • 12 May 1968: students at Essex declare a Free University in protest at the suspension of three students, Raphael Halberstadt, David Triesman and Pete Archard
  • 13 May 1968: one day general strike in France; over 1 million students and trade unionists march through Paris.
  • 14 May: workers occupy Sud-Aviation and Renault plants.
  • 15 May 1968: National Theatre in Paris was seized and made into a permanent assembly for mass debate.
  • 20 May 1968: for a week ten million, or roughly two-thirds of the French workforce, have been on strike.
  • 24 May 1968: Paris Stock Exchange is set on fire by protestors.
  • 28 May 1968: students at Hornsey College of Art begin a 6-week occupation demanding more participation in the running of the college and changes in the curriculum.
  • 31 May 1968: French government appears to be close to collapse, de Gaulle goes into hiding.
  • 4 June 1968: Most workers have gradually returned to work or been ousted from their plants by police. Students call off street demonstrations. Police retake Sorbonne.
  • 5 June 1968: Robert Kennedy assassinated
  • 20 August 1968: Democratic Party National Convention in Chicago disrupted by Youth International Party (Yippies), the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (Mobe) and thousands of other youth protesters. Massive police operation, backed by the National Guard and the army leads to 8 days of street battles.
  • 21 August 1968: Russian troops invade Czechoslovakia to put an end to the Prague Spring.
  • 2 October 1968: Student demonstration in Mexico City,on eve of 1968 Olympics; paramilitary units fire on students, killing over a hundred.
  • 5 October 1968: Civil rights protests in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
  • 27 October 1968: 25,000 take part in another anti-Vietnam war march; again trouble flares outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square.
  • 22 November 1968: The Beatles’ White Album released, featuring Lennon’s ‘Revolution’: You tell me it’s the institution, Well, you know, You’d better free your mind instead
  • 10 December 1968: Guild Gazette publishes centre-page spread, ‘Shocking Conditions in University Houses’
  • 27 January 1969: students occupy London School of Economics in protest at the appointment as Director of Walter Adams, a prominent figure from apartheid Rhodesia.

1969

  • 1 January 1969: start of Civil Rights march from Belfast to Derry in Northern Ireland.
  • 30 January 1969: sit-in at the Social Sciences building – the first such action at Liverpool University. The sit-in, which lasted 24 hours, was in solidarity with students at the LSE.
  • February 1969: Student protests shut down London School of Economics for a month
  • 19 April 1969: Riots in Belfast and Londonderry
  • 15 May 1969: official opening of Senate House by Princess Alexandra is the focus of protests by tenants and students
  • 12-15 August 1969: Street fighting in Londonderry
  • 19 August 1969: British Army takes control of security and policing in Northern Ireland
  • 26 August 1969: Radicals who have broken with Students for a Democratic Society adopt a name change from The Weathermen to the Weather Underground. The original name came from Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’: ‘You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows’. The Weather Underground will plant bombs to protest the continuing war in Vietnam.
  • 24 September 1969: Chicago Conspiracy trial opens, presided over by judge Julius Hoffman, 74. On trial for incitement to riot are David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Tom Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Black Panther leader Bobby Seale, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, and John R. Froins. Justice Hoffman has Seale gagged and manacled to his chair in the courtroom and sentences him to 4 years in prison for contempt of court.
  • 12 November 1969: journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the story of last year’s My Lai massacre
  • 15 November 1969: The New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam demands a moratorium on the war and masses hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Washington DC.

1970

  • 1 January 1970: Voting age reduced from 21 years to 18
  • 30 January 1970: ‘Dinner’ protest prevents Lord Salisbury attending the annual Student Union Dinner
  • 9 February 1970: President and entire executive of Guild resign after vote of no confidence
  • 13 February 1970: The Garden House Riot, Cambridge: during a Greek Week, held with support from the Colonels’ regime, local travel agents and the Garden House Hotel, a picket by about 400 demonstrators was broken up violently by police. The Cambridge Evening News called it a riot, and University Proctors gave evidence at the ensuing trial of nine people for inciting riotous assembly under judge Michael Argyle
  • 6 March 1970: An explosion in New York’s Greenwich Village wrecks a town house used by members of the Weather Underground to produce bombs. One member is killed. Police arrest Weather Underground activist Bernardine Dohrn
  • 9 March 1970: the occupation of Senate House begins, and continues for 11 days
  • 12 April 1970: Disciplinary hearings result in 9 students being suspended and one expelled
  • 30 April 1970: President Nixon makes a television address announcing that he has ordered U.S. combat troops into Cambodia to destroy North Vietnamese ‘sanctuaries’
  • 1 May 1970: One day student strike and May Day march

  • 4 May 1970: Kent State massacre, Ohio; National Guard fires 67 rounds in 13 seconds, killing 4 students and wounding 9. Neil Young writes and CSNY quickly release the single ‘Ohio’: ‘Four dead in Ohio’.
  • May 1970: Oz magazine schoolkids issue: in 1971 OZ editors Richard Neville, Felix Dennis, and Jim Andersonare tried for obscenity at the Old Bailey, under Judge Michael Argyle
  • 9 May 1970: An antiwar rally brings 100,000 peaceful demonstrators to Washington DC. President Nixon is unable to sleep and drives to the Lincoln Memorial before dawn to talk for an hour with students protesting the war.
  • 14 May 1970: Appeal hearings uphold most of the original sentences
  • 22 May 1970: The Cricket Council calls off this summer’s South African cricket tour, following the campaign by the Stop the Seventy Tour movement led by Peter Hain, and pressure from the Home Secretary, James Callaghan.
  • 18 June 1970: Conservatives win general election; Edward Heath PM.
  • 24 August 1970: University of Wisconsin students protesting the university’s participation in government war research blow up a campus laboratory, killing a research graduate student, injuring four others, and destroying a $1.5 million computer
  • 24 November 1970: In his annual report, VC Thomas condemns “the action by a small minority group of militant students” at Liverpool University this year which, he alleges, “besmirched the enviable reputation which the student body had built for itself.”
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