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thedrifter
03-20-09, 08:51 AM
US Marines Recruiting Center Hit By Vandals

Posted: 7:18 pm PDT March 19, 2009

BERKELEY, Calif. -- A U.S. Marine Corps recruiting office in downtown Berkeley that's been the target of protests for the past 18 months was hit by vandals Wednesday night, according to Berkeley police spokesman Andrew Frankel.

Frankel said three suspects, all men in their early 20s who wore dark clothing and hoods, are believed to have been responsible for the incident at the recruiting center at 64 Shattuck Square about 8:55 p.m. Wednesday.

He said the suspects smashed windows and splashed red paint onto the building and then ran away.

Frankel said a short while after the vandalism occurred police served an arrest warrant in an unrelated case and detained a man who's a person of interest in the vandalism.

He said that man is still in custody but that the other two suspects are still at large.

The incident occurred on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the Iraq War.

Members of Code Pink and other activist groups planned to hold a protest outside the recruiting center this afternoon and then march through downtown to Sproul Plaza at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Marines opened their recruiting center in Berkeley at the end of 2006 but the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution on Jan. 29, 2008, that said the office "is not welcome in our city and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders."

Two weeks later, following an outcry by military supporters and others, the City Council voted 7-2 to modify the resolution and acknowledged "the recruiters' right to locate in our city and the right of others to protest or support their presence."

Frankel said the Marines planned to close the recruiting center today anyway because they are planning to conduct training at another location.

He said the vandalism is "an inconvenience" to the recruiting center but shouldn't prevent the Marines from reopening the center.

Ellie