These are from Wednesday, March 12th, lunchtime, at the USMC Officer Selection Station in Berkeley. One month to the day after the major protests about the city council's obnoxious Marine-hating letter. This week there's some kind of week long environmental sleep-ins around the country, and the one for our region is held in front of... where else, the USMC office in Berkeley. So there have been people camped out at all hours - with high school students that support the Marines swinging by at 4:00am to honk and wake them up! Interestingly enough their schedule says they'll be gone Friday at noon - which is when the World Can't Wait protesters show up.
This is also when Code Pink has their permit to get one free parking spot, and they were also moving additional vehicles into other spots as they became available. It's a one hour zone so the turnover is pretty high. Basically their goal is to make it look like as much as possible is happening from the street, and they don't have many people there so it's a good strategy.
This was actually one block away, but I thought it was an interesting move. Also an abuse of that handicapped license plate.
OK, Code Pink side. They had a bunch of pink-draped vehicles but not a lot of actual people. The truck says "War is not green" to tie it into the environmental protest.
The police have been good about keeping the sidewalk clear, so from the sidewalk you see basically nothing until you're right at the protest. Note that a lot of the pro-Marine supporters were wandering around on this end talking to anybody who looked media-related.
Pro-Marines. The folks on the left were mostly high school students, I think, and there were a bunch of bikers as well. My understanding is that the bikers are largely or perhaps all members of the Patriot Guard Riders, an organization that exists largely to shield funerals of military members if the family requests. There's a lot of real sickos that protest these funerals which is why there's a need for this. But I'm told they're not here in that capacity since it's really outside the bounds of the organization - it's just that they feel like it's important that somebody step up to the plate here and represent the pro-Marine side on an ongoing basis other than the Berkeley High students (who are there regularly long after the anti-Marine high school students lost interest). I'm therefore just going to refer to them as bikers or Marine supporters or similarly generic terms.
This angle shows more of the bikes, but not all. The bikers were wandering all over the neighborhood - they had more pro-Marine than anti-Marine folks, but there were lots more in reserve checking out the town. But you get some idea from the bikes what kind of numbers we're talking about. They were doing a great job. They're much more articulate talking to the media than the code pink folks.
That's not even all the bikes - these were around the corner. Also I saw some of the "bikers" feeding the meter on their cars (!) down the street so factor that in.
I love those sunglasses. She and the guy in the reflection are Berkeley High School students and regular counter-protesters, but unlike the code pink types who have to camp there all week to keep their numbers up they just spend part of their lunch breaks and then go home. I think they must have flags in their lockers or something.
There were around eight police officers there. Berkeley is spending a ton of money on police time for this protest - remember, it's been going on for months and they spend $100,000 on Feb 12th alone.
By the way - I absolutely don't mean to pick on this particular guy (sorry, but it had to be somebody), but this picture reminds me that I've been asked by a couple of folks about Berkeley PD grooming standards (note the scruffy unshaven face of the guy and if you flip through other Bekeley reports it's something you see all the time). Didn't you know shaving is racist? The argument goes that people of certain ethnicities have problems with ingrown hair, so you can't require shaving - being one of those people I'm actually kind of OK with that but if you're going to have a beard it can still be neatly trimmed and generally professional. The style with Berkeley PD cops is that lots of them have a bit of chin hair and keep the sides shaved... except they only seem to shave twice a week and with that style it doesn't really cut it.
Does any of that matter? I guess it depends on if you care about if the citizens respect you or not. In Berkeley maybe it's a lost cause, but I think their laziness comes back to bite them in the butt in more ways than they know.
This is pretty much everybody with Code Pink - I stood so you could see the ones in the truck. Note the gal and guy on the right have been seen repeatedly in these reports before. If you look carefully at the pictures you'll spot some other folks but even on the code pink side there was a little turnover over the course of the hour I was there.
I wonder if they realize how offensive this is? I don't think so because I saw it repeated - they think it's a way to act like they're not anti-troops.
That's the gal with the "fu ck bush" shirt we see at these things all the time. Again, there's a core group of maybe half a dozen gals that make up most of code pink's "support".
She wore the pink crown Feb 12th.
Driving the code pink truck back a spot to take up as much space as possible. Note the sign behind her - same text as the big banner. She's another regular at Berkeley protests.
Here's some video of what it looks and sounds like. At one point the code pink types made a tactical error and started singing a leftie song with a recycled tune... that duh, the pro-Marine types knew. This is the only time I've ever heard the pro-Marine folks singing - fun! It's short and the best bit is at the end, so just let it rip.
If you don't see the video, go here to see it in higher quality.
This is from the next day - Thursday at 11:30. This is literally a drive-by shot, but I just wanted to show how it looks on a bit of a more normal day. They have one truck and a car, and you can just make out two cops to the left, in front of the unrelated truck. There are maybe a half dozen protesters - if I blow it up it's pretty much the same as the folks above, so no news there, except in addition to the code pink people there was one young guy with a world can't wait headband. There were no counter protesters, although I heard there were a few Berkeley High counter protesters a bit later when they let out for lunch.
Update to the update:
A fellow blogger who wishes to remain anonymous sent me this shot from later in the day. I'm not sure of the exact timing, but there's the high school students.
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