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Pigasus, betrayed by his own kind

In 1968, tensions in America were at a boiling point. The assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr earlier that year had resulted in hundreds of riots nationwide, and anti-war, anti-police brutality, and anti-racist movements were active all across the country. The Democratic Party had failed to speak to the anti-war sentiments of the growing radical left, and made the decision to hold their national convention in Chicago, which they perceived to be a liberal stronghold, particularly under the leadership of Mayor Richard Daley. This miscalculation was instigated by Daley himself, who met privately with President Johnson before the convention, and insisted that holding the DNC in Chicago was the only way to reinvigorate the Democratic base. Protests were organized by a strong convergence of anti-war organizations and local organizers, including Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panther Party, JOIN, and the Yippies. At one point during the protests, Yippie organizers, including Jerry Rubin and Phil Ochs, nominated a live pig to be their presidential candidate (named "Pigasus") and paraded it through the streets. Richard Daley's Chicago Police Department responded swiftly, and violently. The resulting riots got international attention, disrupted the Democratic National Convention, and resulted in some of the most shocking documentation of police brutality against protesters at the time.

The Illinois National Guard was brought in to assist the Chicago Police Department, creating a combined force of more than 23,000 law enforcement agents pitted against approximately 10,000 demonstrators. The violence in the streets shocked the national TV audience that tuned in for coverage of the DNC. National Guard surrounded the convention spaces with rifles, and Chicago police officers openly beat protesters and dragged them through the streets. There was so much tear gas used on the protesters that it filled the air of downtown Chicago and even effected presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey inside his suite at the Hilton. Several prominent journalists at the time were also injured by the Chicago police, including Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, and Edwin Newman, who were all actually assaulted while inside the Democratic Convention.