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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Anti-War
Berkeley Marine Recruiters Office Shut Down, Three Arrested
Three days after the Berkeley City Council voted to tell the U.S. Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders" protesters from World Can't Wait were arrested after chaining themselves to the door of the recruiting station and refusing to leave.
A nation statement from World Can't Wait calling for nationwide acions on January 31 was titled: "Challenge the “Politics of the Possible” with Mass Resistance - Drive OUT the Bush Regime!" The statement begins: "We will make the future. We pledge to stop endless war for empire. We refuse consent to a torture state. We won't swallow a hateful culture of bigotry & intolerance. We will not go silently into a fascist nightmare. We will engage in an act of civil resistance to make a better world. We are what we've been waiting for."
The WCW statement also says: "In times such as these, people living in this country must speak up and make their sentiments known, acting independently as THE PEOPLE. Let us not go down in history infamously for standing silent in the face of grave crimes the way the "Good Germans" allowed the Nazis to carry out their atrocities. In solidarity with those being tortured in our name and as the color of resistance, wear and display orange everywhere, daily."
Berkeley January 31/February 1 -- In a freezing rain, close to 80 people turned out to SHUT DOWN the Marine Corps recruiting station in downtown Berkeley. When the protesters showed up at 3 PM, the recruiters had already cleared out early and left. However, the protesters pledged they would come right back in the morning and SHUT IT DOWN again. Demonstrators marched up and down the block chanting: "SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN -- DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME! SHUT IT DOWN, SHUT IT DOWN -- SHUT DOWN THE WAR MACHINE!" Young people took turns on the bullhorn about why they had come out to protest. People talked about torture and the criminal and immoral nature of the war that these recruiters were sucking youth into.
Berkeley City Councilman Maxwell Anderson joined the rally and spoke powerfully to the reporters about the righteousness of this demonstration. At 4 PM a waterboarding demonstration was conducted in the middle of the street, in front of the Marines station. Then, many people took part in a dramatic "CIA TORTURE TAPE DEMOLITION." Next to a big sign explaining, "CIA TORTURE TAPES HERE," orange jumpsuited “prisoners” and students unreeled huge tangled piles of mock CIA torture videotapes and began stringing it back and forth out into the street, as they wrapped themselves in the tape, dancing, and chanting "destruction of evidence!"
When the dozens of protesters arrived the next morning at 7 am they found that the recruiters had slipped in an hour earlier than their usual 7:30 am. The recruiting center was “decorated” with red handprints (the symbol of U.S.-trained Central American Death squads) and the slogan: “We refuse to live in a torture state.” An orange No Torture banner was hung from the awning in front of the office, and VHS-video tape (symbolizing the destroyed CIA torture tapes) was draped around the center. Three protesters chained themselves to each other and to the front of the center and blocked the entrance. The protesters were arrested after they refused to leave saying that they would not go along with business as usual in a torture state.