Hundreds of Protestors Respond to City Council's Vote

Photo: Berkeley Police monitor the protest in front of the City Council chambers.
Nathan Yan/Staff
Berkeley Police monitor the protest in front of the City Council chambers.

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Photo: A Berkeley High School student argues with Navy veteran Don Werstler.   Photo: Berkeley police guard the city police station Tuesday afternoon as a crowd gathers to protest the arrest of two minors, one of whom was a Berkeley High School student.   

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As the protest in front of Berkeley City Council chambers continues, a group of protestors surrounded the Berkeley Police Station earlier this afternoon.

Protestors claimed the police arrested a number of Berkeley High School students who were involved with the protest.

Police could not be reached for comment.

The large group of protestors, many of whom were high school students, chanted "Free the Kids" as a line of police officers stood between the protestors and the police station.

By 4:30 p.m., the group had refocused its efforts on the City Council chambers.

Hundreds of protestors converged in the city of Berkeley this morning outside the City Council chambers in preparation for tonight's council meeting when council members will reconsider a previous vote against the Marine Corps recruiting center in Downtown Berkeley.

Police say there have been a number of arrests since 5 a.m., but they currently cannot confirm the exact number.

Martin Luther King Jr. Way, in front of city hall, is currently dividing the two sides.

Code Pink, as well as other protest groups including The World Can't Wait, have lined up in front of the city hall, while pro-Military groups, including Move America Forward, have congregated in the park across from the chambers.

Police in the area, who are wearing protective helmets and carrying batons, estimate there are currently 250 people in the park.

There are an additional 100 protestors in front of the council chambers.

The majority of the protestors are there to voice their opinions over the council's recent vote against the Marine Corps recruiting center in Downtown Berkeley.

Two weeks ago the council voted to call the Marine recruiters "unwelcome and uninvited intruders" and reserved a parking space in front of the center for Code Pink, a group that organizes weekly protests against the center.

After their decision elicited an angry response from people across the country, some City Council members said they regretted their earlier votes and decided to consider retracting some of their statements at tonight's meeting.

They also said they want to clarify that their resolutions were intended to show their opposition to the war in Iraq, not their dislike of members of the military.

The protests are expected to continue until at least 7 p.m. when the City Council meeting will begin.

Jane Shin and Jacqueline Johnston of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.


Will Kane is the assistant city news editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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