Two women with the anti-war group CodePink were arrested Friday afternoon when they sat down on the floor inside the U.S. Marine recruitment center in downtown Berkeley and refused to leave, police said.
Dressed in pink and black, Pamela Bennett, 45, of San Francisco, and Mari Blome, 52, of El Cerrito, were arrested for trespassing on private property after being warned several times by police to leave, said Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.
The arrests came during a regular weekly protest at the Marine recruiting center at 64 Shattuck Square. About 40 people attended the protest on Friday, including members of Copwatch, who this week have raised concerns about police crowd control tactics at the protests.
CodePink and other groups have been protesting at the center for several months. The protests have heated up recently after the City Council in late January called the recruiters “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.”
Kusmiss said CodePink and a group called The World Can’t Wait _ Drive Out the Bush Regime began rallying at the center about noon Friday.
At one point in the rally, Marine Capt. Richard Lund returned to the center, where protesters had affixed signs and stickers on the windows. When Lund began removing them, protesters tried to stop him, police said.
Someone slapped a sticker on Lund’s back.
When a police officer forced one of the protesters back from Lund, the protester challenged the officer, police said. Tensions rose but Lund did not want to pursue prosecution, police said.
Now, the police are under fire from the leftist thugs:
The Berkeley Police Review Commission voted Thursday to review the Police Department’s crowd control tactics, a result of a petition suggesting police violated first amendment rights during recent U.S. Marine Corps recruitment protests.
Activist groups World Can’t Wait and Berkeley CopWatch submitted the petition with more than 65 signatures and a nine-page “history of incidents,” to request Thursday’s 6 p.m. special meeting on police procedure. Activist group CodePink also presented concerns to the commission.
Police Review Commission Officer Victoria Urbi said the groups reported that a veteran at one rally was knocked to the sidewalk and that overall police have been too abrasive.
The commission’s response was to form a subcommittee that will analyze police behavior during past rallies and present any recommendations to the council, a process that could take more than four months, Urbi said.
She said the commission also voted to send a two-member delegation to meet with the police chief and the city manager to prepare for a heated March 19 demonstration in front of the recruitment center.
CodePink spokeswoman Zanne Joi said she was concerned with increased hostility and more restrictions from police, such as limiting banners and flyers since, the Berkeley City Council voted in favor of the activism.
You want to be concerned about increased hostility? Here’s the real, documented hostility.
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