Late Night FDL: OpBART-5, The Evolving Aerobic Version

I came to San Francisco for OpBART-5 which, given the detention of journalists and students on Thursday, could have gone one of two ways: Very Badly or Okay. It was the latter, except for San Francisco Police Department Officer A. Mora striking a journalist’s camera. Twice. But But San Fransisco State University student Eri Verducoza, who is with the campus publication Golden Gate X-Press, kept his camera rolling and didn’t back down.

Guess Officer Mora missed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that it’s perfectly okey-dokey to videotape the police.

There must be someone at the SFPD with a sense of humor or at least knows a good photo-op in the making: Officers were staged in front of a donut shop.

There were about thirty protesters tops, only three Anons were present; the rest of the group was No Justice No BART, plus as many media–and at least three SFPD officers for every demonstrator and plenty of BART police in the stations.

Welcome to Anonymous workout program

joked one protester with a bullhorn as we marched from Civic Center Station to the Powell Street Station and back again, repeatedly parading through the free speech areas outside the turnstiles, crossing streets, and weaving around Market and Mission Street. BART police and the SFPD stood back. Everyone is learning:

The protesters stayed off the platforms and the police didn’t arrest them. BART didn’t close the stations and there was no disruption to commuter services.

I do have to say chanting

Fuck the police! Bad cop, no donut! Police! Murders! Killers! Fuckin’ pigs!

while flipping off law enforcement is childish. It accomplishes nothing. However the BART passengers I spoke with all stated that the BART police should not have guns.

The police I spoke with were very nice, and one asked me what I thought of the situation and what could make things better.

The only time it got a little intense was when protesters ended up in front of City Hall with a line of police on the stairs blocking them. After a brief round of yelling at the police, the march turned and strolled down the roadway as an officer pulled up on a golf cart with a megaphone and announced we were an un-permitted protest and to get off the roadway and onto the sidewalk. A very gentlemanly Anon in a suit guided me to safely and kept me out of the police officers’ line. So chivalrous! As we marched back towards the BART station we were were flanked by police, with more rolling up on their minibikes.

There’s another protest scheduled for next week, and Tall Anon told me that they’d be keeping it up until there is change.

What can be done? BART could take side arms off their police, train them in Krav Maga and give them tasers, batons and Mace. BART should also apologize for killing people. And shutting off cellphones.

 

#OpBART 3: SFPD Says “It Will Be Different” Anonymous Sez “Expect Us”

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr promises regarding #OpBART 3 on Monday August 29:

It will be different.

Hopefully he means “different,” as the San Francisco  police will not hit people with batons as seen in this video below. Or maybe that San Francisco police officers will not order people off the sidewalks then arrest them for being on the streets, something reported repeatedly on the #OpBART Twitter feed after the Auguest 22nd protest.

Or maybe “different” in that the SFPD will pay more attention to their arrest lists: The name of a 17-year old–date of birth 9-15-1993, arrested at the #OpBART2 protest, then booked and held in San Francisco County Jail under section 601 (missing person/runaway)–was released to the media, against SFPD media guidelines, followed by another email from the SFPD asking reporters to delete the previous list and use the updated one attached, whihc omitted the juvenile.

Oh wait, this is how San Francisco Police Chief Suhr means “different”:

I don’t want this to be construed as delivering a threat, but enough is enough. They made their point, and they are now losing in the court of public opinion. We don’t feel that we took appropriate action at the appropriate pace (on Monday). The next response will be quicker.

Anonymous responded to Chief Suhr’s words thusly:

Now you have our attention.  We do not appreciate threats nor do we take well to them, especially from a chief of police who has a very interesting background himself. May we remind you of 2003?  Allegedly conspiring to obstruct the investigation into the infamous Fajitagate affair, in which three off-duty cops allegedly beat up two men for their Mexican takeout.  Or maybe we should ask Chief Heather Fong why she had to reprimanded you in 2009.

Oh and in 2005, Chief Fong demoted Suhr to the backwater, literally–making him chief of security for SF’s water supply.

The police department replied to Anonymous, issuing a written statement:

As Chief Suhr has stated this is NOT a threat. We as a department will continue to facilitate first amendment rights to protest. Our goal is to provide a safe environment for everyone. While the demonstrators have the right to protest, we will continue to facilitate it to an extent where it does not infringe the rights of others. We as a law enforcement agency had a duty to protect the constitutional rights of all.

BART has stated that

expressive activities

are not permitted on the paid area of BART stations, meaning any area beyond the turnstiles, and expressive activity in the station requires a permit. Is standing on a platform in a tee shirt reading

I <3 Free Speech. Please Don’t Shoot Me!

a violation of BART’s rules and regulations? Is standing in the station area with duct tape over your mouth? Do these actions require a permit on BART property?

Police ienforced BART rules, making arrests of people chanting and passing out fliers on the platforms during the first two #OpBART protests; none of the arrestees were Anonymous, who confined their protests to outside the station, (though one Anon was  photographed tweeting behind a post on the BART Civic Center platform).

It’s important to remember that there are two groups which are uniting to protest BART (along with random unaffiliated citizens). No Justice No BART is demonstrating against the transportation agency’s police department and policies; BART police officers have shot two men in two years. No Justice No BART has successfully disrupted train service in the past during their demonstrations, most recently on July 11 in response to the shooting of Charles Hill, BART service was suspended when protesters climbed on trains.

Anonymous–which for the most part rallies for freedom of information and communication–was drawn into the fray when BART shut off cellphone service on BART platforms and in trains on August 11 to prevent a planned protest by No Justice No BART which BART Chief of police Rainey said was discovered on a

blog webpage.

In the past two and a half weeks, Anons have swiftly educated themselves on the background of BART and the shooting deaths of Oscar Grant and Charles Hill, much they did in 2008 when the removal of a Tom Cruise video on YouTube led to the development of  Anonymous’ Project Chanology, a year long series of real life  protests–the first time Anonymous moved off the interwebz –that embarrassed Scientology, and aided a number of high ranking members to leave what ex-members describe as an abusive cult.

During the #OpBART protests, it has been members of No Justice No BART who have been on the train platforms chanting and shouting, holding signs, while Anonymous and others have marched up top.

How will Anonymous make #OpBART3 different for the SFPD and the BART police? Civil disobedience tactics like chains, padlocks and “blackbear” lockboxes seem a bit old school for Anonymous who have shown their displeasure for BART spokesperson Linton Johnson’s high-handed tactics by scouring the internet for information about the  former anchorman and then providing a treasure trove of  photos featuring Linton Johnson frolicking topless in the Land Down Under. And wearing really stupid tee shirts. All from Linton Johnson’s publicly available blogs (since shuttered).  Anonymous also redecorated MyBART.org; and someone claiming Anonymity easily hacked into both the MyBART.org and the BART police databases, then released names and other information from both sites.

Anonymous’ effort have proven them to be a force with which to be reckoned: The international uproar over the suspension of cellphone service, made hugely public by the MyBART.org hack and the ensuing protests, has prompted an FCC investigation and forced BART to develop a policy limiting cellphone shutoffs. The majority of BART’s Board of Directors expressed emotions ranging from dismay and outrage over the suspension of cellphone service.

Anonymous has proven themselves to be rapidly mutable, highly adaptable organism with fluid intelligence and Trickster‘s sense of humor which can, to some at times, appear cruel or insensitive. At the core, Anonymous is doing it for the lulz. And like Trickster, Anonymous does not forgive, nor forget. Expect them. And expect them to do it differently, too.

Oh and the SFPD has opened its doors for new recruits. Preferably ones fluent in meme-speak and lolcats.

photo: OpBARTsf

 

“Http Makes Us All Journalists”

The arrest and release of journalists in San Francisco who could prove they were members of the press has prompted  the creation of press passes for anyone interested in joining the Fourth Estate because

Http makes us all journalists.

True.  Bloggers are the new pamphleteers. Just remember:

Publish or perish, search for supporting information and cite your source.

#opBART Second Protest: Arrests Made, Journalists Detained, Police Use Batons on Protesters


 

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.

San Francisco Bay Guardian reported:

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 SFBG video of arrest is here.

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!

as they stood  in front the cops. The photo above, of her friend risking a photo, was taken by Vivian Ho who posted it to the #opBART twitter feed. Other video of march here and here.

Some tweets included

8pm:

4th and Market. Group trying to start fire. Throwing Firecrackers at Police and Crowd? #OPBART-RadioRelay

KEEP IT PEACEFUL. WATCH FOR THOSE THAT TRY TO MAKE IT VIOLENT #opBART
Garbage cans were knocked over, and trash was thrown. #opBART twitter and Mission Local reported eight arrests. One commuter was briefly detained after he went after a protester, per SFAppeal. He was not arrested.
IndyBay’s twitter feed reported 30 arrests/detentions, including at least one reporter, at 8:43pm local time, and confirmed by the SF Examiner’s twitter feed. One of those arrested  around 8:45pm was Mission Local blogger Helene Goupil. Mission Local provided live feed to this protest and last week’s. UPDATE: Mission Local’s Helen Groupil was “detained.” She tweeted at midnight:

Thx for the tweets everyone, I was able to show police my business card and was let go #opbart #mlnow
Others arrestees reported via Twitter that they were booked and released.
The journalists tweeted that they were released after showing police their webpages:
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.
AT 9pm, this was posted to #YourAnonNews and #opBART which also warned against a tweeter under the handle of Nov5 who was acting as an agent provocateur on the Twitter feed. Protesters were also urged to move away from anyone acting disruptively.
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.
Anonymous promises more protests on Monday August 29 beginning at 5pm.
photo 1: VivianHo, via  Twitter to #opBART.
photo 2: Anon Medics! Jay@pghTiger via Twitpics
video 1: Mission Local

Close