When Racism Stalks The Streets

It is at this point that we should turn our eyes to Cambridge. Not Cambridge is as it is now, the world Mecca of academia and research, but Cambridge as it was in 1970, a hotbed of left-wing political revolt. Let us go back to the Garden House riots when a Greek evening at a local hotel was broken up by violent demonstrators. They weren’t very violent by the standards of international dissent, although one policeman was seriously injured. ‘Hot-headed rioters’ was probably nearer the mark but with a clear intention to frighten and cause damage, and police with dogs had to restore order. Still, sentences of up to 18 months sent the firm message that behaviour like this would not be tolerated by the courts. It was hard on those convicted, youths with strong political beliefs who probably got carried away by the excitement of the occasion. Still, the heavy sentencing paid off and student dissent, which had been becoming a public nuisance, was never the same again.

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