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Anti-Vietnam War demonstration 17 March 1968

Anti-Vietnam War demonstration 17 March 1968

Anti-Vietnam War demonstration 17 March 1968

50 years ago, on 17 March 1968 Vanessa Redgrave and Tariq Ali led the Anti-Vietnam War demonstration into Grosvenor Square in London, captured here in this iconic image taken by photographer John Walmsley.

Tariq Ali; Vanessa Redgrave
by John Walmsley
17 March 1968
NPG x6394

This anniversary is being marked in a new book on Walmsley’s photographs from that day and a book signing session with the photographer at the Photographers’ Gallery Bookshop from 2pm on 17th March, 50 years to the day.

Vanessa Redgrave, considered the leading British actress of her generation and the co-founder of the Workers’s Revolutionary Party, led the march to the United States Embassy in Grosvenor Square, and she is shown with the revolutionary student-leader Tariq Ali, ready to present a letter to the United States ambassador. Both are wearing white headbands, a Vietnamese sign of mourning.

Walmsley was then a young art school student, as he remembers

‘I was at art school in Guildford and had heard there would be a big march, so I borrowed a college camera and hitched to London to photograph whatever happened. At one point, the march stopped, on Charing Cross Road I think it was. Vanessa was holding the letter to be handed in at the American Embassy and, for a moment, she looked extraordinary, like one of those carved figures on the prow of a distinguished sailing ship.’