Viet Committee Plans Nov. 5-8 Protests as Rocks Fly

Smash! Crash! Tinkle!


Fifth Estate # 16, October 16-31, 1966

Another window gone at the office of the Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam.


“Hello–Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam.”

“You Commie son of a bitch! If you have any more marches, you’re all going to wind up dead!”


And so it goes at the local office of one of the groups trying to bring about an end to the war in Vietnam. Committee members say this type of harassment increases when the organization is particularly active. Since last week the Committee announced in the FIFTH ESTATE its plans to hold a four – day long series of protests against the war, they are now bracing themselves for the inevitable bricks and phone calls.

The Committee office at 1101 W. Warren, several blocks from the Wayne University campus, has been open since July of 1965 and in that period has had 9 instances of vandalism resulting in over $1,000 in property damage. There have been no arrests made in any of the instances. “The only good coming out of this,” said John Hawksley, the Committee office manager, holding the rock that came through a front window the night of October 3rd, “is that they have run out of windows to break.” The office, once surrounded by plate glass on two sides, now has grey boards in their place.

The evening prior to the rock throwing incident, Nick Medvecky, newly elected chairman of the group, had received an anonymous phone call threatening him personally if the group sponsored any more demonstrations.

“This sort of activity is only a nuisance,” said Medvecky, as he surveyed the damage. “It won’t have any effect on our efforts to educate people about this war.”

Medvecky, 24, a plant worker and a veteran of the paratroopers, says he is not frightened by the attacks and phone calls, but feels, “you have to remember that in the last few months several anti-war groups have had their offices bombed and here in Detroit three persons in the anti-war movement were shot. The Administration, in its effort to build support for an unpopular war, has created an atmosphere where you can expect acts such as these.” Medvecky feels the best way that people can demonstrate that terrorist acts do not stop people is to participate fully in anti-war activity.

The Committee is presently preparing for a series of protests called the November Mobilization planned for the 5th through 8th of that month. The action was planned early in September at a Cleveland meeting of over 50 peace, civil rights and religious groups. The decision by the delegates to hold the protests prior to the Fall elections was made in order to inject the issue of Vietnam into the political contests.

In Detroit, a mass march and rally is planned for Nov. 5th. The Marchers will assemble at Central Methodist Church, Woodward at Adams, at 2:00 p.m. and march to the Federal Building on Fort Street where a declaration will be placed on the closed doors of the structure. Then a rally will be held featuring people prominent in the anti – war and civil rights movements. A Marine veteran of the Vietnam war will be the featured speaker.

On Sunday, Nov. 6th, there will be an anti-war folk concert. There will be a small admission fee with the proceeds going for the expenses of the protests.

The Wayne Committee to End the War in Vietnam will hold a ten hour teach-in on Mon., Nov. 7th in the McGregor Memorial and Community Arts buildings. Featured will be symposiums and lectures on the “GI and the War.” Speakers will include a relative of the Fort Hood Three, the three recently convicted GIs who refused to go to Vietnam, professors from Ann Arbor who organized the first Teach In, and a veteran of the Vietnam war. The programs will run continuously from 2 to 12 p.m.

Tues., Nov. 8th, the Detroit Committee and the Detroit Women for Peace will do mass leafleting at polling places, plant gates, college campuses, and other locations around the city.

“We are in the process of contacting 15 Detroit area organizations and 50 churches,” said Dave Hurley, the Committee’s new secretary who has not lost all of his Southern accent he acquired in Tennessee. “This should be Detroit’s largest peace activity in 25 years. We may get a turnout of from 4 to 5,000 at our march on Nov. 5th.” At this writing seven groups and several prominent individuals have agreed to sponsor the protests.

Other recently elected Committee officers include Tom Suber, Vice – Chairman and Joe Henry, Treasurer. The Committee has regular meetings each Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. at its offices and all are Welcome.

The Detroit Committee publishes a sporadically appearing newsletter which goes out to over 2,000-persons. The latest issue (free, from the Committee) tells about the group’s ongoing projects and subcommittees. Members are working on the defense of the Fort Hood Three; an anti-napalm project, anti-draft work and counseling on the draft and conscientious objection, a group of veterans opposing the war, fund-raising; and an office committee. Medvecky stressed that all projects and sub-committees need more people, and those interested should either come to the office at any time or call 832-5700.


See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.

photo, anti-war committee windows smashed, Detroit, 1966

Three Vietnam Committee members
view damage by bricks thrown through office windows after the March 26th
International Days of Protest.