The Chicano Moratorium

On August 29, 1970, as many as 30,000 Chicano anti-war activists marched in East Los Angeles to protest the Vietnam War. The march, organized by the grassroots coalition the Chicano Moratorium (formally known as the National Chicano Moratorium Committee Against the Vietnam War), was the biggest anti-war demonstration undertaken by any ethnic group in the nation. Gathering in Laguna Park, marchers headed down Whittier Boulevard as L.A. county sheriff’s deputies, declaring the rally an unlawful assembly, attempted to break it up with tear gas and batons. Storefronts burned in the ensuing violence and four people were killed, among them the award-winning Los Angeles Times journalist Rubén Salazar. Salazar and others had sought refuge from the chaos in a local bar, the Silver Dollar Bar and Café. A sheriff’s deputy fired a tear gas canister into the establishment, which struck and killed Salazar. No charges were filed. The former Laguna Park is now Ruben F. Salazar Park.