OpBART began the week with another protest at San Francisco BART stations and myBART.org being taken offline to protest the shut off cellphone service on BART out of fear of a demonstration against the shooting of a homeless man by BART police, the second fatal shooting by BART officers in two years. There was a high turn out of both BART police and SFPD in riot gear, and from photos and video there appeared to be five officers to every protester.
According to SF Appeal, the majority of protestors did not wear Guy Fawkes masks, though some were barely clad. Civic Street Station was closed, and police arrested a man and a woman at the Civic Center station.
As a few protesters began to gather, surrounded by dozens of riot police and media, a uniformed BART police officer told a young African American man he would be arrested if he raised his voice. Chanting began in response among the small pack of protesters, and the man was promptly arrested by BART police.
As he was being led off the platform by police, a woman who stood in the center of the platform began verbally engaging a BART officer, saying, “BART police need to be reformed. Make BART Safe. Make BART safe.” She was apparently arrested for nothing more then her words. Deputy BART Police Chief Daniel Hartwig said he could not provide any information about what the arrestees would be charged with.
The crowd, estimated between 80-100, outnumbered by police, moved up and down Market Street. Powell Street Station was opened and closed then opened again. The Ferry Building was closed to prevent protesters from entering. Firecrackers were thrown at the police, and some hooligans pounded on the windows of closed shops. Protesters keep in touch via Twitter.
The crowd chanted
Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!
This one’s simple: Last week Bay Area Rapid Transit shut off cell service to stifle protests of a killing by transit police. We’ve seen officials across the globe threaten and take similar actions: from dictators trying to cling to power in the Middle East, to Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, to Joe Lieberman and his Internet Kill Switch legislation.
It’s time to draw a line in the sand: Please sign our petition condemning BART, encouraging the Federal Communications Commission to investigate, and warning other public agencies that we won’t tolerate censorship.
Most were cited for failing to disperse or illegally blocking traffic. Police spokesman Albie Esparza said no vandalism was reported in connection with the demonstration, but police did confiscate a hammer from one demonstrator.