UNIVERSITY PRESS

Get your riot gear

Mark Gibson

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Riots can be intense. Especially when they are about something ridiculous, like a sports team losing a championship (really, Canada? Is Hockey that important?).Then there’s Los Angeles, who riots after the Lakers win (sorry, Canada).

Real riots are caused by political and social issues and can spark change in our society. Throughout history, there have been violently insane riots that led to war and political shifts. To highlight the craziest in our nation’s history, here’s the UP’s Top 10:

10 Democratic National Convention riot

Aug. 28, 1968
Result: Seven people charged with conspiracy

(http://www.smithsonianmag.com)

Thousands of unhappy political protesters gathered in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Then, on Aug. 28, a fight broke out between a protester and a police officer. That’s when things got real and a riot ensued.

09 Kent State Massacre

May 4, 1970
Result: 4 killed, 9 injured

(http://www.kentstate1970.org/)

It all started with students protesting the invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Things got out of hand when the National Guard fired 67 rounds in over 13 seconds into the crowd. Some of the students shot were just walking past the protest to observe it.

08 Boston Massacre

March 5, 1770
Result: 5 dead, 11 injured

(http://www.bostonmassacre.net/)

It was a small riot, but it eventually led to the American Revolution, which could be considered our greatest riot. It started with a civilian allegedly throwing a rock at a British soldier. In turn, the soldier fired into the crowd and thus — America was born. (Eventually.)

07 The Battle in Seattle

Nov. 30, 1999
Result: 600 people arrested

(http://www.pbs.org)

Anarchist group, The Direct Action Network, led a group of activists to essentially take over Seattle and shut down the meeting of The World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference. The conference was to decide the future of global capitalism, and some people just weren’t too happy about it.

06 Bonus Army

July 28, 1932
Result: 4 killed, 1,017 injured

(http://www.npr.org)

43,000 World War I veterans and protesters gathered in Washington D.C. to demand immediate cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. In a fit of panic, President Herbert Hoover sent in the military, which included 500 infantry, 500 cavalry, and six battle tanks. What started as a protest, looked more like a battle zone.

05 Newark Riots

July 12 – 17, 1967
Result: 26 killed, hundreds injured

(http://www.thirteen.org/)

Police arrested a black man for improperly passing them on the highway. People who lived across from the precinct reportedly saw an unconscious man being dragged into the building. Rumors circulated that that man died in the jail, and sparked a week long series of race riots.

04 Attica prison

Sept. 9-13, 1971
Result: 48 inmates and 9 hostages killed

(http://www.pbs.org)

Attica prison was no walk in the park. Prisoners were allowed one shower a week and one roll of toilet paper a month. With more than shoddy living conditions and mistreatment, the inmates became violent. After a prisoner was killed trying to escape, the inmates revolted in demand for better living conditions.

03 Rodney King riots

April 29 – May 4, 1992
Result: 53 killed, 2,000 injured, $1 billion in damages

(http://www.time.com)

Rodney King, a black man who was on parole, led police on a high speed chase through Los Angeles. Once he was captured, the officers beat him severely. It was captured on camera — the whole thing. The officers were charged with assault and excessive force, but were all acquitted. The verdict caused an uproar in the Black and Hispanic communities and led to extremely violent riots across the city.

02 Watts Riots

Aug. 11- 15, 1965
Result: 34 killed, 2,000 injured, 4,000 arrested

(http://www.usc.edu/libraries/archives)

A highway patrol officer arrested a black man for drunk driving. A crowd began to form around the scene, and once the officer arrested the brother and mother, who were also in the car, a riot ensued. Five days of riots in the Watts section of LA broke out between the races and police. It would be the biggest riot in LA until the Rodney King incident.

01 New York City Draft Riots

July 13 – 16, 1863
Result: 2,000 killed, 8,000 injured

(http://www.press.uchicago.edu)

During the Civil War draft, men could pay $300 to be removed from the list. But, due to poor economy during war time, the growing lower class couldn’t afford to pay. When the draft lottery began, extremely violent riots shortly followed. For three days, New York was a war zone as a Civil War broke out during the Civil War.

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