The Berkeley City Council voted in the early hours of Wednesday to reverse its controversial declaration that U.S. Marine Corps recruiters were "unwelcome intruders" in the city.
The council vote followed a raucous debate that started Tuesday night and carried past midnight.
Its vote last month to send a letter to a downtown recruiting station advising the Marines they were not welcome set off a furious backlash. Conservative lawmakers in Washington and Sacramento threatened to cut millions in funding to Berkeley in retaliation. In Wednesday's action, the council -- while affirming its opposition to the war -- decided not to send the letter and to state that recruiters were welcome.
"We failed our city," said Gordon Wozniak, who was one of three council members who voted against the original declaration. "We embarrassed our city."
On Tuesday, antiwar and pro-military activists faced off outside City Hall, protests that led to several scuffles and three arrests, police said.
Antiwar activists said the council's about-face would not change their plans to picket the recruiting station.
Stephanie Tang, a member of the antiwar organization World Can't Wait, said the group planned to wage a nonviolent demonstration at the recruiting center Friday. In past protests, activists chained themselves together in front of the doors to the center.
"This isn't business as usual," Tang said. "This isn't a shoe store. These people are luring young people in to participate in an immoral war."