City council eases anti-Marines stance

February 13, 2008 6:45:52 PM PST
Berkeley's city council has decided to soften its stand against a resolution criticizing a local Marine recruiting station, after a raucous meeting that lasted late into the evening.

The Code Pink anti-war demonstrators always linger on the side walk of the Marine Recruitment Center until around 5:00 p.m. The city has granted the group permission to demonstrate in a parking space outside the recruitment center every Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

On Tuesday night, the council did not back off of that permit but they did soften up against the recruitment center.

Anti-war group Code Pink faithfully made camp at its free parking space outside the Marine Recruitment Office in Berkeley.

Pro-military demonstrators took their stances to the sidewalk next to them. It was a small, calmer scene than Tuesday's day long war of opinions at the Berkeley City Council, and with an early morning vote backing off the controversial revolution that had called the Marine Recruiters, "unwelcome intruders."

"I think the council took a step back, but they did it pretty defiantly," said Berkeley City Councilman Gordon Wozniak.

By a six-to-three vote, the council decided to change its position to opposing the war and supporting the troops.

Councilman Gordon Wozniak thinks they should have gone further, and apologized.

"I think it's sort of a halfway apology. My fear is that it's not going to make either side particularly happy. I think this controversy will go on," said Wozniak.

He is half right. Code Pink is happy, so happy they are making valentines to send to the City Council.

"I think they are wonderful, we really support them, we are really happy that they took a stand and they didn't back down under all that pressure you know," said Asher Wolf from Code Pink.

There will be no valentine's from pro-military people.

"People that say I support the troops but not the war, you can't have it both ways," said pro-military demonstrator Gigirenee Heredia.

At least one Berkeley resident is advocating compromise.

"We have reconciliation pizzas. We want to feed everyone. We are feeding people in, we are feeding people out here the pink, the flag waivers and the Marines because we in the neighborhood support differences," said Berkeley resident Ann Powell.

The city of Berkeley said anyone or any group can apply for the same group to demonstrate outside the Recruitment Center. There is a gray area on whether or not a permit will be granted for free.

No one in the Marine Recruitment Center was allowed to talk to ABC7 News, and all the other Marine representatives were unreachable for comment.


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