Florida's sub-tropical playground -- Miami Beach -- is due to become the focal point of political affairs in the United States next week as the 36th Democratic National Convention convenes for a four-day session to decide who should run on the party ticket in the November Presidential elections.
GTV PAN..Miami Beach and Convention Hall
GV Hotel and artificial lake
LV People on motorboat
GV Convention Hall
GV INTERIOR..Hall (2 shots)
CU Sign "Decision 72"
SV Man with electric saw
SV Man hammering
SV & CU Telephones being installed
LV Technicians installing T.V. camera
CU Looms of telephone wires
GV INTERIOR..T.V. Controlroom
CU Electrician installing wiring
LV Platform and section arrangements
GV ZOOM IN..police squad seated on airstrip
CU Helmets and batons
CU Sergeant talking about CS gas
CU Police revolver PULL BACK..to policeman handing CS gas container for inspection
CU Policemen putting on gas masks
SV Police squad practice crowd control
CU Sign "Homestead Airbase" emblem PULL BACK to tents
GV Airforce radar aircraft PULL BACK tents
SV Soldier assembling tent poles
GV Tent erected
GV Assembly of Yippies and others
CU PULL BACK..girl in trousers made from US flag with Miami Beach sign
CU PAN..Middle-aged woman walks through crowd
CU Placard "Stop the circus"
SV Policeman ZOOM into Yippies
Initials ES. 1500 ES. 1730
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Background: Florida's sub-tropical playground -- Miami Beach -- is due to become the focal point of political affairs in the United States next week as the 36th Democratic National Convention convenes for a four-day session to decide who should run on the party ticket in the November Presidential elections.
The main contenders are Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, Governor George Wallace of Alabama and Senator Edmund Muskie from Maine.
Senator McGovern tops the list of candidates with the most delegates won in the long round of state primaries -- although he no longer seems certain of winning the nomination on a first ballot, as was thought possible at first.
At the end of June, Senator McGovern had acquired 1,466 of the 1,509 delegates needed to secure the nomination, mainly due to resounding victories in the New York and Californian state primaries.
But on June 29, the Convention Credential's Committee ended nearly four hours of debate by voting 72 to 66 to strip McGovern of 151 delegates he thought he had won in the Californian primary -- disregarding state law in a display of political power.
Instead, the 271 California delegates are now to be divided among all the Presidential candidates who competed in the state -- a move which McGovern described as an "incredible, cynical, rotten political steal" and "an outrageous way to treat the American people."
McGovern's disgust -- and a threat by him to form a third party -- were to no avail. And when he took the issue to a Federal Court, he suffered another defeat because the judge refused to interfere.
How this will affect the outcome of the Convention is uncertain since the standings of the other candidates before the Committee's move left Senator Humphrey in second place with a relatively meagre total of 385 delegates -- leaving 377 for Governor Wallace 208 for Senator Muskie and another 578 delegates supporting minor candidates or uncommitted.
Meanwhile, last-minute reparations at the Convention Hall are being carried out. A labyrinth of offices below it is being equipped for the use of delegates. Carpenters have constructed a "most" round the platform to keep out over-zealous newsmen. Television camera technicians are busy mounting their equipment -- and hundreds of miles of telephone and other cables are being installed.
Miami Beach police, too, have been undergoing a period of intense preparation, with special courses in handling demonstrations, the use of tear gas and riot control.
At Homestead Airforce Base, U.S. army engineers have erected a tent city and personnel carrier parking area to house the 82nd Airborne Division about 25 miles to the north of Miami Beach. Both National Guardsmen and Federal troops will be on hand in case demonstrations get out of control.
But so far this year the atmosphere in Miami Beach is far different to the stormy days of 1968 when tear gas swirled across Lincoln Park and Senator Hubert Humphrey received his nomination while police and angry demonstrators battled in front of the resort's plush hotels.
Nevertheless, demonstrations are expected. A small band of militant pranksters have already made their protest -- albeit only a minor one -- against a ban by the Miami Beach City Council on camping outdoors by demonstrators during the Convention.
And the police say they expect bigger things to come -- particularly from the area's large expatriate Cuban population and a predominantly black group, the National Welfare Rights Organisation, which is holding its own national convention in Miami Beach this week.