These are from Wednesday, February 27nd, 2008 in front of the Marine Officers Selection Office in Berkeley from 12:45 and 1:30pm.
I had very little time, and basically wanted to just drive by the USMC office during lunchtime and see what was there. I wasn't even sure I'd get out of my car unless it was really interesting. Code Pink has a free noise permit and dedicated parking spot Wednesday afternoons, so this is the absolute peak time of Code Pink Activity. A parking spot opened up right in front of me a block before the office, and I pulled in. There was time left on the meter. Well, that's a first, guess I'm shooting the protest. Let's see what's there.
Um, I'm seeing a lot more flag than pink. Huh?
OK, so from the left. The biker dudes are pro-Marine. The gal in pink is Medea Benjamin who is a code pink bigwig. There are more pro-Marine protesters in back. The rest of the code pink forces are out into the street - they're using the parking spot to protest in, not to park. We'll call that area the bullpen.
Here's the Marine supporters further along.
Medea is very camera savvy. Every time I pointed my camera at her, she'd snap her head in my direction. Then quickly look like she was listening to somebody, presumably because that's less dorky than looking at the camera.
Classy. Code pink caters pretty much to middle aged women. You'll see an anti-Marine guy in a bit but he's with ANSWER. Notice I'm a nice guy so I erase even Moonbat license plates, but I think it's funny that it's from a Marin county dealership. Marin's a fair drive from Berkeley - I wonder if they're locals or not?
Now I've crossed the street. I'm going to snag some overview shots and then I have to run... but I'll be back.
Now, if you're taking a count - the guy with the yellow sign is with ANSWER, and everybody in the background you see who is male is a pro-Marine biker guy. They'll split out later so we can get a count. You can really see the bullpen here.
I've zoomed in here mostly so you can see that's an ANSWER sign the guy's carrying.
I was confused as to why there were no police - but they were staying out of the sun on the other side of the street keeping an eye on things. (Update: I got a number of comments about this guy's chin - it's not unusual to see facial hair, even rather ratty unkept hair, on Berkeley PD).
By the way - want to know if you live in a police state or not? Go snap a picture of a couple of cops. These two guys glanced at me, saw I had a camera and went back to talking. When I lowered my camera the made eye contact again, but that was it. Do you really think I could have done that safely in Saudi Arabia? Nazi Germany?
This is on the way back for my second pass. This is a welder. You know, a guy with a job. Unlike the protesters... except this is their job, a lot of these people at a small event like this do this full time.
OK, what's changed? Not much here. It's an hour later, glad I didn't miss anything.
Not much different here.
Here's the overview. I blew this up really big and got a count. I have enough pictures at different angles that I know basically which side everybody's on. I gave the middle aged woman who wasn't wearing pink to Code Pink but she might be with ANSWER, that's the only question. Note that the biker dudes are hanging out in the doorway - you can just see them at this resolution. The count?
ANSWER 1, Code Pink 7, biker dudes 4, other pro-Marine supporters 8. So to summarize anti-Marine protesters 8, pro-Marine counter-protesters 12. Wait, if there's 50% more counter protesters than protesters, does that make them the protesters? Oooh, my head hurts...
I took another pass right through them. Really no change.
Now, I don't know about the gal on the left, but the one in the middle is Medea again, and the gal on the right is her bodyguard/companion (people might remember her "fuck bush" shirt at the city council meeting).
The gal on the left was at the council meeting too, she was wearing a pink crown and hanging with the bigwigs there. The gal on the right I think I know who she is but I'm not 100% - anyway, I've seen her at other code pink events. Point being that a good number of the code pink people you see are very active, full time or close to it.
So where's the community support for the anti-Marine side? I sure don't see any. And again, this is when they have the permit, this is when they have the free parking spot. This is the absolute peak time for Code Pink. You'll see maybe one of them on Fridays when World Can't Wait is protesting (and even then, there were three kids from Berkeley High out to support the Marines). But the best they can muster during their peak time is a half dozen founders and bigwigs and some guy from ANSWER who happened along at that time? Sad.
By the way - one thing you didn't see in this report? Mainstream media. You'll only see them if there's lots of action, hopefully arrests. Arrests are news. Code pink isn't news, peaceful counter protesters outnumbering the anti-Marine groups doesn't fit the narrative. And I understand why they can't spare the resources to be there all the time, but it's a real shame they basically seem to be down to popping in Friday afternoons and ignoring everything else.
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