Group Organizing BART Protests Vows To Continue Fight

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Members of the loosely organized hacking group “Anonymous” said they would continue protests at Bay Area Rapid Transit stations in San Francisco, after disrupting the evening commute for the second straight week on Monday.

BART Police Commander Daniel Hartwig said they will continue to deploy extra officers as long as the protests are held.

“We have more officers on duty tonight,” Hartwig said following Monday’s protest. “We are supported by a larger number of San Francisco officers as well as San Francisco sheriffs.”

San Francisco Police said about 40 people were arrested during Monday evening’s BART protest, which shut down both the Civic Center and Powell Street stations off and on for well over an hour throughout the roving demonstration.

The shutdowns delayed thousands of evening BART riders with many passengers expressing increasing frustration over the delays as they tried to get home.

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Protesters gathered on the Civic Center BART platform at 5 p.m.  The protesters chose the platform to gather because Charles Hill was killed there by a BART police officer on July 3, after Hill allegedly attacked the officer with a knife. The shooting set off a string of protests that have shut down San Francisco BART stations three times since then.

San Francisco Police officer Albie Esparza said dispersal orders were given several times throughout the protest which started at the Civic Center and made its way east on Market Street and back toward the Civic Center throughout the evening.

Two people were arrested shortly after the protest began after disobeying dispersal orders, Esparza said.

At Fourth and Market streets one person was arrested on suspicion of igniting a flammable substance and when demonstrators marched to the first block of Grove Street, at least 35 others were arrested, Esparza said.

All protesters were arrested on suspicion of failing to disperse, Esparza said.

Police also recovered a hammer from the demonstration.

Police said their goal is to accommodate demonstrators and allow them their constitutional right to protest while protecting lives.

BART Board President Bob Franklin said that after three protests, the agency is no longer tolerating the demonstrations on BART platforms.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

“When a protest is happening on a BART platform, it’s clear the station closes. But unlike a week ago, the station reopened quickly,” Franklin said. “It closed and opened a couple more times but it wasn’t closed for a long block of time. And it was just two stations. The last protest, it was four stations that were closed. So we’re moving in the right direction.”

Previous BART shut downs stemmed from the July officer-involved shooting. On Aug. 11, BART said it had intelligence that a disruptive protest was being planned and shut down cellphone service in several stations to prevent protesters from communicating in stations and tunnels.

That protest failed to materialize, leading BART spokesman Linton Johnson to declare the precaution was successful in disrupting the protest.

But blocking cellphone service angered the hacker protest group “Anonymous,” who has been behind many of the protests. The group called on their loose collective of members to hack BART websites, flood BART offices with emails, faxes and phone calls, and called for another protest on Aug. 15.

Anonymous has established the hashtag #opBART on Twitter, on which the group called for a third protest Monday, Aug. 29 at the same time and location as Monday’s protest. Organizers told KCBS that the protests will continue until “we get what we want.”

Exactly what they want is still uncertain at this time.

BART’s Board of Directors was scheduled to meet Wednesday morning to consider adopting a policy when, if ever, it may switch off its wireless network. 

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Tim Ryan
  • PLW

    Keep arresting those Nit-Wit Thugs for their illegal activities and hold them accountable for their actions!!!!

  • WASP

    Make Obama happy. Get out of your cars and get into those BART trains with the other violent protohumans filth.

  • Not a Tough Guy

    Organize demonstrations are what makes this country great. What they’re protesting for is the problem. No one knows what they want, not even in this article!

    PLW and WASP, grow up and educate yourself. You both sound like stupid, close-minded Americans who only want to protect your 2nd amendment rights.

    BTW, I’m for 2nd amendment rights.

    • PLW

      Organized and legal demonstrations are great. These Nit-Wits are so organized (by your own words) they cannot even convey what they want……..
      Maybe you should comment about their education and tell them the difference between illegal and legal.

  • betsy

    These idiots aren’t fighting for anything. They are just unemployed idiots who have to much time on their hands. What did the commuters ever do to them? They aren’t hurting BART, they are hurting the innocent people who are tying to get home after work all day.

    How about using that energy to help the homeless, battered women and children or the mentally ill?


    What about the other people just tring to get home. NOT A TOUGH GUY you are simple man with a simple mind and a very small member. And by the way have a second grade education like you, weel who is stupid.

  • t paine

    people trying to get home. caring helps. Words from the man who first said the words “United States of America”

  • adam

    Charles Hill was a justified shooting by the BART police! Get over it and stop hurting the innocent BART riders! Protesters(hackers) go home and enjoy your 3TB of porn.

    • Robert Benson

      What do you base your opinion on?

  • jabar

    not one protestor tried to stop a train at yesterdays protest. not a single one. take up your beef with BART. These protestors are heroes. They’re risking incarceration to fight against a corrupt and inept police force. Its not the protestors fault the police locked down those stations. And btw, our civil liberties are not up for debate.

  • PLW

    If it disrupts the illegal activities of the protestors, then shut down the cell phone service. Commuters just want to get to work, or return home. Those unemployed thugs will take advantage of anything they can, they don’t care about any hardships caused to the general public. Hold them accountable for their illegal actions and for the cost the tax paying citizens will have to pay!!!!!

  • BART To Hear Public Comments On Cellphone Service Shutdown « CBS San Francisco

    […] The group “Anonymous,” which has been behind the latest protests, posted a list of demands on its website on Tuesday. Among them was an apology from BART for turning off cell coverage and a promise not to do it again, disarming and retraining police officers and the reopening of the investigation into the fatal BART officer-involved shooting of a homeless man on the Civic Center station platform in early July. […]

  • Costs Mount For Muni As BART Prepares For Another Possible Protest « CBS San Francisco

    […] officers have been deployed on Monday nights when the roving protests have usually been held. The demonstrations on Aug. 22 shut down Civic Center and Powell Street stations, and resulted in 40 […]

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