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October 19, 2007
Counter-Protest Against Code Pink in "The Lion's Den"
It may have been a first for the city of Berkeley, California. A large group of protesters supporting the troops far outnumbered a rag-tag group of leftists who were agitating against a Marine recruitment office smack in the middle of downtown:
Flag-waving demonstrators far outnumbered a group of peace advocates who were protesting a U.S. Marine Corps recruiting center in downtown on Wednesday. But groups on both sides of Shattuck Avenue slowed traffic and jammed sidewalks as they shouted back and forth at each other. The recruitment office was forced to move from nearby Alameda when the building they were occupying was slated for destruction. So the Marines, not ones to back away from a fight, boldly set up shop in a city that boasts one of the only truly socialist local governments in the United States.
Police kept the two competing groups across the street from each other; there were no arrests. One protester who was burning something was cited by police after he was warned by officers not to burn anything in public, said police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.
Protests in Berkeley are nothing new. A protest of a protest is unique -- even in Berkeley. On one side of the street was CodePINK, Grandmothers Against the War, Berkeley East Bay Gray Panthers, Women in Black and other peace groups holding "no war" signs and chanting "out of Iraq." On the other were military veterans, mothers and fathers of soldiers, members of the UC Berkeley College Republicans and Melanie Morgan, whose conservative talk show airs on KSFO. They waved American flags and chanted "USA, USA, USA."
The results were predictable. The office has been defaced by graffitti several times and protests are a daily occurrence.
Conservative talk show host Melanie Morgan was incensed at the defacement as well as the harrassment of potential recruits and organized the counter-demonstration. Hundreds turned out to support the Marines.
We are actually seeing more and more of this attempt to counter anti-war protestors across the country - something that was not done during the Viet Nam war. But with talk radio and the internet, it has become possible for conservatives to organize better and push back against the radicals who oppose the troops and the military.