Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Code Pink Awaits Pre-Dawn Protesters From Across Nation


By Steven Tavares

BERKELEY, Calif - Members of the anti-war group, Code Pink, camped in front of the old Berkeley City Hall Monday night awaiting an early morning clash with pro-war groups angry over the city council’s stand against a Marines recruiting center.

The Berkeley City Council is slated to discuss the controversial decision to draft a letter declaring the Marines unwelcome in the city on Tuesday night.

In the meantime, both sides are girding themselves for a contentious display of protesting in front of the Maudelle Shirek City Hall beginning at 5 a.m.

Code Pink organized an emergency 24-hour demonstration starting at 7 p.m. Monday night that will lead into the city council meeting Tuesday night.

Organizer from the pro-war group Move America Forward countered with a pledge to arrive for their own demonstration at the crack of dawn.

“They believe they’re protecting our children. We’re not at odds with that. Some of us just have different ideas on how to do it,” says Berkeley resident, Patty Bailey.

Erik Freeman, who served time in the Vietnam War, drove his RV from Bakersfield as a member of Move America Forward and arrived early to witness the protesters beforehand.

“This whole thing is about picking on the Marines,” said Freeman, “Our thing is to make it clear to the city council that we’re unhappy with their resolution.”

Freeman was also unimpressed with the manner in which the protesters were behaving.

“For a war protest, they’re having a whole lot of fun,” said Freeman.

The scene on Martin Luther King, Jr. Way had elements of a carnival with protesters clad in pink shirts dancing on the sidewalk, singing protest songs and snacking on vegan meals donated by a local eatery.

“Code Pink showed up for a pajama party,” said Freeman.

Cynthia Papermaster, another member of Code Pink, expects the pro-war protesters, some of which are believed to be traveling from as far as Colorado, will be discourteous and aiming to provoke a physical confrontation.

“We’re planning on being peaceful and non-confrontational,” said Papermaster.

Others are surprised by the worldwide attention this topic has received and see it as a telling sign of how unpopular the war has become.

“This is an indication of how scared they are about losing the war,” said Zanne Joi, who has been affiliated with Code Pink since its inception.

“We live in a country of lies and spin and one of the most successful lies is that if you’re against the war, you’re against the soldiers. I’m proud that our city council did not buckle under the pressure,” said Joi.

Freeman believes these types of demonstrations against the war puts our troops at risk and shows our enemies our weakness.

“They’re just allowing our opponents across the ocean to say, ‘Look, America is against the war’,” said Freeman.

The organizer behind Code Pink has staged weekly demonstrations in front of the recruiting center located on Shattuck Avenue for months.

Using a bullhorn and motherly powers of persuasion they attempt to detour prospective men from enlisting.

According to Papermaster, they have been known to enter the center and dissuade the men on the spot.

Primarily made up of mothers against the war, they successfully closed down an Army recruitment center on Broadway Avenue in downtown Oakland last year after continual protests.

1 comment:

Tanesia said...

Great work.