Iraq War's Anniversary Marked by Opposition
Friday, March 20, 2009
Category: News > City > Crime
Several unidentified people vandalized the Berkeley Marine Recruitment Center on Wednesday night, smashing windows and spraying red paint across the front of the center.
Police responded to calls from witnesses in the area at 8:53 p.m., said Berkeley police Lt. Rico Rolleri. He said he did not know whether the incident, which happened on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the Iraq War, was connected to protests against the center.
About 70 people who oppose the military's policies in Iraq, including members of the anti-war groups World Can't Wait and Code Pink, held a protest yesterday at the center to voice their continued opposition to the war.
Code Pink organizer Zanne Joi said the group and the protest yesterday had nothing to do with the incident of vandalism.
"We don't break windows, we're not violent," she said. "We abhor violence."
Joi said she did not know who was responsible for vandalizing the center, but that frustration with the Marines was understandable.
"It is not the right thing for us to do," she said. "But I cannot tell (anyone) what the right thing is for (them) to do."
Rolleri said he did not know whether any suspects were arrested in connection with the incident.
The center has been the site of several recent protests concerning United States military policy in the Middle East that have gained national media attention.
Demonstrations at the center escalated in January 2008, when the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution to send a letter labeling Marine Corps recruiters in Berkeley as "uninvited and unwelcome intruders." At the same meeting, the council granted Code Pink a parking space in front of the center.
The council voted to rescind the letter to the Marines after receiving thousands of phone calls and e-mails that voiced opposition to the resolution. Code Pink members say they will continue to protest every Wednesday until the recruitment operations have ceased.
Councilmember Kriss Worthington said violence is not the proper way to voice discontent over the center.
"Smashing windows is not protest, it's stupidity," Worthington said. "It's counterproductive."
Contact Julie Strack and Zach A. Williams at [email protected]
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