Present-day DNC protestors say they're fighting the same issues 50 years later

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Five decades after anti-war protestors clashed with Chicago police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, another wave of activists took to the streets.

Al Lieberman was just 29 years old then. Armed with a camera, the Skokie native captured what he witnessed that August day in Grant Park as protests over the Vietnam War and political discontent bubbled over.

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"After it was all done I realized how big it was," he said. "It's all people talked about. And 50 years later, they're still talking about it."

Steven Flowers was a 15-year-old student activist and junior ROTC cadet. He, too, witnessed the violence that erupted on Michigan Avenue in front of what was then the Conrad Hilton Hotel.

"I was on the west side of Michigan Avenue and there was tear gas all over the park. It looked like a big cloud. I was like, 'I gotta get away from this,'" he said.

On the 50th anniversary of the protests, organizers of the August 25 event say the issues of injustice still remain.

"Today, when we have America's longest war in Afghanistan and Iraq, those lessons are urgently needed as well," said Andy Thayer, part of the Chicago Committee Against War and Racism.

Present-day attendees drew comparisons between the current political climate and that of 1968, hoping to re-capture the energy of the past to bring about change.

"If you don't have a screaming opposition to scream at that, it will take over," said Katy Nielsen, a present-day protestor. "Here we are 50 years later and not only is it continuing, it's worse now in a lot of ways."

CLICK HERE for ABC7Chicago's full coverage of the 50-year anniversary of the 1968 DNC
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