Ten U.S. Marines attacked outside Hard Rock Cafe in Puerto Rico by mob armed with bats and pipes

Charles Brown CharlesB at cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
Tue Apr 23 11:11:15 MDT 2002

Ten U.S. Marines attacked outside Hard Rock Cafe in Puerto Rico by mob armed with bats and pipes

Tuesday, April 23, 2002


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A mob armed with bats and pipes attacked 10 U.S. Navy Marines, leaving one with a cranial fracture and others with injuries from broken bones to minor scrapes, authorities said Tuesday.

Eight were released from the hospital Tuesday following a brawl that erupted Monday night outside the Hard Rock Cafe in San Juan, capital of this U.S. Caribbean territory. Two were held for observation, said Lt. Corey Barker, a Navy spokesman.

The Marines - more than 60 wearing civilian clothes at the time of the attack - had just finished work as a security detachment for contested military exercises on the outlying island of Vieques.

Two Marines were arguing between themselves outside the cafe at about 11 p.m. when a mob armed with lead pipes and bats started beating them, Barker said. It was unclear what the fight was over.

Eight other Marines came to their friends' defense, and the brawl developed into a large street fight involving more than two dozen people, the Navy and police said.

The attackers fled when police were called. There were no arrests.

The Marines, stationed in Tidewater, Va., are expected to return to their duties on the mainland this week. They had arrived at the cafe in white civilian buses.

Anti-military sentiment in this U.S. territory flared after an off-target bomb killed a civilian guard in 1999 on Vieques.

Protesters regularly break into the bombing range to delay exercises. The Navy says that during the latest round of maneuvers, which ended last week, protesters threw rocks and other objects at military personnel. The protesters say their demonstrations are peaceful.

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