Pro-Military Group Writes to Attorney's Office

Group Requests U.S. Attorney's Office to Investigate City Council's Handling of Marine Center Protests

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A pro-military group sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney's office last week asking for further investigation into the Berkeley City Council's handling of protests regarding the Marine recruiting center in Downtown Berkeley.

If the U.S. Attorney's office deems that the City Council's actions constitute a breach of law, as the group Move America Forward claims, the letter asks the office to prosecute those responsible.

About two months ago, the City Council approved a resolution expressing its opposition to having a Marine recruiting center in Berkeley, and termed the recruiters as "uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

In mid-February, almost 2,000 people, from both pro-military and anti-war organizations, gathered in front of the City Council chambers in response to the resolution.

Representatives from the pro-troops organization say that the city encouraged anti-war groups like Code Pink to interfere with Marine recruitment and is guilty of civil rights violations.

"The Berkeley police was clearly allowing us to be intimidated by the 'peace protestors'," said Ryan Gill, operations director of Move America Forward. "We felt that our civil rights were being violated."

The Berkeley Police Department did not respond appropriately to the verbal and physical abuse Move America Forward members were subjected to during the February protest, said Catherine Moy, the executive director of the organization.

"Some of the pro-troop folks were hit with skateboards, hit with signs or placards, or spit upon. Rocks were thrown on them," Moy said.

Berkeley City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak said that the group's complaints were not valid.

"The city has received complaints from both sides," he said. "The Berkeley police are very professional and doing their best to enforce the law."

The organization mailed the letter in on Thursday, and hand-delivered an additional copy yesterday to the U.S. Attorney's office in San Francisco.

Representatives of the organization say that the group has no intention of backing off, but will decide its course of action upon hearing the U.S. attorney's reply to its letter.

"We as a group are not going to let up. We are going to make sure people can speak their mind and exercise their personal rights inside Berkeley without being hurt and intimidated by a government who is supporting these anti-war thugs," Moy said.


Contact Deepti Arora at [email protected]

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