Mayday: May 5, 1971
May 5, 1971 marked the third day a mass civil disobedience against the war in Indochina in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators’ ranks were depleted by the record arrests of the previous two days and at the encampment at West Potomac Park on May 2.

Meeting on the national mall, the less than 1,500 protesters voted to split into two groups. A larger group would lobby elected officials or picket peacefully on the sidewalk while a smaller group would conduct civil disobedience.

Police shepherded both groups onto the Capitol grounds. While speakers like U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug and Rep. Ronald Dellums spoke to the crowd, police surrounded the group.

Both Capitol and District of Columbia police arrested nearly everyone on the steps and lawn totaling about 1,200.

This brought the total of the Mayday protesters arrested to over 12,000. All but a handful of charges were ultimately dismissed and a number of lawsuits ensued over illegal arrests.

The demonstrators at the U.S. Capitol on May 5 ultimately received about $10,000 each from the Capitol police and the District government as compensation for the illegal arrests.
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