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Pro-military demonstrators rally in Berkeley

March 22, 2008 7:40:43 PM PDT
The Berkeley Marine Recruiting Center is again center stage for protest. This time, hundreds of pro-military bikers revved their engines up on Shattuck Avenue.

The red, white and blue rolled into Berkeley on Saturday.

"There's been so much controversy in Berkeley about these Marines and whether they belong here or not, and we're here to day they do belong here," said Debbie Fautt, a Blue Star Moms associate.

Berkeley's Marine Recruiting Center has been taking heat for months from anti-war protestors like Code Pink, outside its doors.

On Saturday, the scene was different. Bikers and military from California to New Mexico came with support and a message.

"When the City Council, a government agency, turns around and basically slaps the Marine Corps in the face, and therefore all veterans, and says they're not wanted, it doesn't make any sense to us. I'm a retired Marine. Nobody slaps Marines without Marines responding to it," said Doug Lyvere, Eagles Up member.

The Berkeley City Council set off a firestorm when it sent a letter to the Marine Recruiting Center saying it was an unwelcome intruder. It later softened the language of that letter.

Anti-war group, Code Pink, also showed up on Saturday.

The businesses on Shattuck Avenue say these protests have taken a toll on their bottom line. Limited parking and a loss of customers may force Katy McNally's bridal shop to move elsewhere.

"I have had girls where I've had to lock them in the shop because they're intimidated and afraid because we have police in full riot gear walking down the street and they don't know what's going on," said McNally.


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