BERKELEY _ 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.


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Tensions rose but Lund did not want to pursue prosecution, police said.

Later at about 3 p.m. the women entered the recruiting center and sat down on the floor, blocking the door, Kusmiss said. Police warned them several times and tried to negotiate with them but they refused to leave, Kusmiss said.

They were both issued misdemeanor citations for trespassing on private property. They signed the citations but still wouldn't budge, Kusmiss said.

At that point, they were arrested and taken to jail. It was not known late Friday if the women had posted bail.

Contact Kristin Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com or 510-208-6453.