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On April 30th President Nixon announced on national television that a massiveAmerican-South Vietnamese troop offensive into Cambodia was in progress We take theseactions Nixon said not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia but for thepurpose of ending the war in Vietnam and winning the just peace we all desire These were familiar words to a war-weary public Some felt that this decision was essential forattaining a just peace and sustaining Americas credibility in the world Yet others particularlystudents believed that this action represented an escalation of the war and a return to ex-PresidentJohnsons earlier hopes for a military victory As the fires from the artillery began to burn inCambodia a raging fire of protest spread across the United States At Kent State University thereaction to Nixons announcement was similar to that of other campuses across the nation On Friday May 11970 at noon about 500 students gathered around the Victory Bell on theCommons the traditional site for rallies A group of history students who had organized theprotest buried a copy of the Constitution which they claimed had been murdered when US troopswere sent into Cambodia without a declaration of war by Congress Three hours later BlackUnited Students held a rally which had been scheduled before Nixon had made his announcementSome 400 people gathered to hear black students talk about recent disorders with the OhioNational Guard on their campus Word spread quickly that another rally one to oppose theinvasion of Cambodia was scheduled for Monday May 4 at noon Friday night one of the firstwarm evenings of the spring several hundred students gathered in downtown Kent in an area witha number of bars known as the Strip on North Water Street A spontaneous anti-war rallybegan in the street Twice while the rally was in progress passing police cruisers were hit withbeer bottles Afterwards police stayed away from the area Meanwhile more people were leavingthe bars Many in the crowd chanted anti-war slogans and
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