This is a bit rough - my apologies but I wanted to get something up sooner rather than later and I'm running short on time. I'm planning on returning this evening when things are supposed to heat up, but I had a chance to do a quick pass on the protests this morning (Feb 12th, 2008) in front of the Berkeley old city hall where the city council meets and cover the protesters and counter-protesters protesting in advance of the city council meeting this evening to decide if they should back off a notch or two on their anti-Marine stance.

Update: I just went through and cleaned up some typos and clarified a few things, but this is basically as posted at about noon, PST.

These were taken over about a 25 minute period starting at 10:10am. The order might be a bit strange because I made a couple of circuits and to a certain extent you can only shoot the signs of either group from across the street. Things were pretty much at a stalemate - the meeting starts at 7:30pm and is expected to go for hours and hours and many of the protesters got here at dawn or late last night. Everybody was mostly biding their time - mostly the high school kids (more on them later) would chant and everybody else on both sides held signs and watched the other side.

This is basically from the rear approaching across MLK park - the flag belongs to the right-wing pro-Marine faction (largely Move America Forward). They're spread on on the relatively roomy park side, and the anti-Marine faction (Code Pink and ANSWER and World Can't Wait) have the rather cramped but prime space right in front of the actual old city hall.

Here's the old city hall, with the anti-Marine protesters.

This is the World Can't Wait section - which are mostly Berkeley High students (more on that later). These were probably 2/3 of the folks on that side and the most active in terms of using the bullhorn and such.

Close up of the rest of the anti-Marine side - code pink and ANSWER mostly.

Berkeley High sent a drawing class out to record the event.

Police. I didn't get an exact count, but I'd guess there were 20 scattered around a couple of groups. This seemed low, but the police station is basically right next door and things were pretty calm at the moment (conditions were changing throughout the day as people arrived and left).

On the anti-Marine side - they're really packed in there since they basically just have the sidewalk empty - the rest of the space is filled with tents and supplies.

This is basically behind the anti-Marine side. Note a tent - many of them spent the night and they didn't bother to take them down which is why they have so little space. Also notice the "reproductive" sign - these guys recycle signs since they go to so many protests.

This is the code pink section. Pretty empty - they've really lost control. I overheard a number of them talking about "the other side" and they didn't mean the pro-Marine group, they meant World Can't Wait and how to get control of the event back.

Collecting money.

I think this sign is really telling - um, no, people do join for a reason. This was a recurring theme - there were claims that the recuriters don't tell prospectives that they could be maimed and killed. I have no idea if this is true, but how stupid do they think these people are? Um, yeah, it's not like there's a war on or something with the newspapers trumpeting daily troop body count totals.

More of the same.

And back to the code pink side.

There were a couple of ANSWER signs but they didn't seem to have a big group or anything - just enough to hold some signs. This one was just propped up - they had more signs than people. ANSWER was a larger factor later in the evening.



OK, back to the pro-Marine side. Looks different, huh?

No need to add anything.

Again, mostly kids in that group.


Pro-Marine again.

This is part one of two. Please proceed to part two if you're still reading this!



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