These are from Friday, February 22nd, 2008 in front of the Marine Officers Selection Office in Berkeley from about 11:30am - 12:30am.
In theory there are continual protests at the station, but it's very easy to go there and have literally nobody there, or maybe just a couple of people. I thought this would be an interesting time. Both Code Pink and World Can't Wait had posted multiple ads online saying they'd be doing stuff on this particular day. I'd seen World Can't Wait flyers for this day on campus. And since Berkeley High - who provide much of the support for World Can't Wait locally - isn't that far away and many of them eat lunch in this area it stood to reason that lunchtime would be when things would really heat up. Perhaps they'd come for lunch and blow off their Friday afternoon classes. Anyway, it seemed like a good time to see something, but keep in mind that I really tried very hard to come when it would be busy. You'll see videos on the net where it looks super busy, and they like to say it's always like that, but it's just not true.
By the way, I'd like to point out that Berkeley High School has an enrollment of 3,400, so if you see a few students, that's not a mandate. 1% of them would be 34 students... which as we'll see is many more than showed up.
I'd also like to point out something that's missing - pink! I saw maybe one or two people wearing any pink at all and nobody in the all-pink over the top getup code pink types usually wear. Code pink has really lost control of this issue to World Can't Wait.
I'm also going to have some local color in this report because I went for a walk a number of times over the hour - trust me, you do not want to spend an hour with these guys without a break.
This is just across University from the recruiting center. My understanding is they're quite good.
I'm across the street from the office, which is actually where I'll be a lot of the time. Note the guy in the jeans and leather jacket facing our way - he'll show up later. We'll call him Leather Jacket Guy (LJG).
And changing my angle to look behind the truck - ah, two Berkeley Police are guarding the door! But there's maybe a half dozen people there. Oh, and see the "No Parking Every Wednesday 12 PM - 4 PM" - that's the reserved Code Pink parking spot. Not that you'll see much/any of them today. In any case, time for a walk...
Just around the corner. The whole area's a mix of fast food, nice places to eat, random offices. There's a great gelato place around the corner.
...and I continue right through their area. You can see they're ready to go but don't have the people yet. It's about 11:40am. They claimed things started at 7:00am so it's not like the protest officially hasn't started yet or whatever - they're going to show pictures at peak and then mention they were here all day. Um, yeah, maybe one of them.
This was the only official media guy as far as I can tell. There were a couple of photographers and videographers that seemed to be associated with World Can't Wait, and one or two who seemed like maybe they were bloggers or tourists or something, but only one person with modern video gear with a station logo.
If you don't see the video, go here to see it in higher quality.
Short video - only point here is that nothing much is going on.
And exactly one van. By the way - Subway owners - I would have bought a sandwich after the protest but guess what? You're in Berkeley!
OK, back to the event. You can just see the cops on the left, LJG bending down, and then they're getting bins of orange clothing and such ready to go. They're clearly expecting a lunchtime rush as well. Notice we get the signs actually being held up now.
Another overview - it was getting hard to shoot through the traffic. You get a lot more traffic in this area because of the lunch rush, especially since the area a couple of blocks down is the Gourmet Ghetto.
OK, 11:45, first students!
LJG has them pose for a picture. The guy on the left with the reddish jacket is the media guy, notice the camera between his legs on the ground.
Another group of students with bullhorns. Interestingly enough the Berkeley High students on my side of the street were saying things like "They think that gives them big dicks." Some guys in suits said "Those idiots cost the city a hundred thousand dollars the other day" (True, in police overtime). But my favorite was a Hispanic guy who said "If they need jobs they should stand in front of Home Depot."
So now it's interesting - the media guy's putting his camera on his tripod! Is he going to put the half dozen people in what's supposed to be an all day protest on the air? No, he's going to film it at its absolute peak for the week.
Unfortunately it didn't really build quite yet - some of the students stayed and some just kept going when they saw nothing much was happening.
Another walk around the block - ghost ads!
In addition to the two by the door Berkeley PD had some officers across the street in reserve. The number varied between 2-6 and then back to two, presumably as it was clear they weren't needed. The police station's right down the street so if things really heated up they could have guys here really fast.
OK, on to part two (of three) - more high school kids, including counter protesters!
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