The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 72/No. 10      March 10, 2008

Berkeley, California, gov’t states
opposition to war, support for U.S. troops
BERKELEY, California, February 13—The Berkeley City Council voted today to rescind an earlier decision to send a letter telling recruiters for the U.S. Marines that they were “unwelcome intruders.” While the council wouldn’t issue an apology to the Marine Corps, it expressed its “respect and support” for U.S. troops.

The council also upheld a decision to allow antiwar organization Code Pink to have a designated parking space in front of the military recruitment office every Wednesday and to operate a loud speaker.

The city council voted January 29 to tell marine recruiters they were unwelcome in the city of Berkeley. Antiwar activists, on the one hand, and supporters of Washington’s wars abroad, on the other, began organizing in favor of or against the decision. More than 25,000 e-mails were sent to the city council on the topic.

Ten U.S. senators threatened to cut federal funding to Berkeley in retaliation. Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, began drafting legislation to cut $2.1 million from funding for city programs, including two involving public school lunches. He proposed transferring the money to the Marines.

An estimated 2,000 anti- and prowar protestors faced off outside Berkeley City Hall, starting the evening of January 11 and continuing through tonight. More than 100 cops dressed in riot gear moved in and arrested four people.

Some 100 speakers addressed the city council meeting. Signs and T-shirts inside the hall reflected opposing viewpoints on the war. Some signs read, “Berkeley Says No to War,” while others read, “City Council—Shame on You.” One speaker called the city council’s original decision “courageous and gutsy.” Another, Debbie Parrish, whose son is serving in Iraq, said, “It’s despicable what you said about our military.”

After meeting for more than four hours, the city council voted 7-2 not to send the letter to the military recruiters. The council members issued a statement saying that they “recognize the recruiter’s right to locate in our city and the right of others to protest or support their presence.”
Related articles:
‘Support our troops’ slogan is concession to Washington’s prowar propaganda  
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