BART Protests Don't Close Stations

Anonymous promised one big change in this week's protest: they would stay out of BART stations

By Lori Preuitt
|  Monday, Aug 29, 2011  |  Updated 7:50 PM PDT
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BART protests Monday lead to station closures and several arrests.

BART protests Monday lead to station closures and several arrests.

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For a third Monday in a row protesters said they planned to disrupt the evening commute in the City.

For a third Monday in a row BART warned passengers ahead of time that it might have to close stations and delay trains due to said protests by the group Anonymous.

But unlike other Monday's, things stayed quiet below ground. 

That's because the protesters stuck to their promise to change their tactics. They told NBC Bay Area that they would not enter BART underground stations. Instead they stayed above ground and  outside stations. As of 7 p.m. no station closures were reported.

Above ground the protesters still disrupted traffic along Market Street as they walked from one station to another.

The last several protests that was not the case. Both the Civic Center and Powell stations were closed starting at 5:30 p.m. last Monday and things didn't completely reopen until around 9 p.m.  after protesters entered the stations several times throughout the night.

The Anonymous protesters said they are disrupting service for two reasons. First they are protesting a deadly shooting by BART police in early July. Second, they are protesting BART's subsequent decision to shut down cell phone service to disrupt a protest planned for August 11.

A member of the group talked with NBC Bay Area Sunday night to explain themselves.

Below is the transcript of that conversation:

 

19:40

<opbart_978>: hi

19:41

*** opbart_978

19:42

<NBC Bay Area>: hi

19:42

<opbart_978>: hello

19:42

<NBC Bay Area>: am i in the right place?

19:42

<opbart_978>: yes

19:42

<Nastassya>: thank you for talking to me

19:42

<NBC Bay Area>: so, can i ask

19:42

<opbart_978>: thank you for coming

19:43

<NBC Bay Area>: what is your goal with BART? what do you hope to achieve with the protest?

19:43

<opbart_978>: what we hope to achieve is bringing light to what the bart PD has done with the killings and unconstitutional like tactics with the shutting down cell service

19:43

<opbart_978>: also

19:44

<opbart_978>: firing linton johnson, we demand that they conduct a reform on training their officers to act better under pressure and disarm the bart police

19:45

<NBC Bay Area>: do you think the protests will achieve that? do you plan to protest until those goals are achieved?

19:45

<opbart_978>: unconstitutional*

19:45

<opbart_978>: yes and yes

19:45

<opbart_978>: we will be out there every single monday until they meet our demands

19:46

<NBC Bay Area>: what is your response to those who say that you are disrupting service for so many thousands of people? do you think that is fair?

19:46

<NBC Bay Area>: to disrupt the service, i mean.

19:47

<opbart_978>: well we sympathize with them that BART has shut down service, we are helping the commuters with their rights, and we never shut down any stations BART did

19:48

<NBC Bay Area>: what time does tomorrow's protest start? will it cover more than just civic center station?

19:49

<opbart_978>: where a protest leads is depending on how things go on the ground, but we plan for the beginning to be at the Civic center and remain outside so the commuters do not get affected

19:49

<opbart_978>: ground*

19:49

<opbart_978>: 5pm

19:49

<NBC Bay Area>: I see, ok, got it.

19:50

<opbart_978>: i would also like to state something plz

19:50

<NBC Bay Area>: Do you have other plans outside of these Monday protests? Why Mondays? Is it because it is the start of the work week?

19:50

<NBC Bay Area>: yes, go for it.

19:51

<opbart_978>: the release of linton johnsons pictures was not an attack on his sexuality, but on his moral character, we feel like he is a bad spokesperson for BART and he should be replaced, if he was in the pics with a female they would have been leaked also.

19:51

<opbart_978>: now to answer ur question

19:51

<Nastassya>: ok thanks for the clarification

19:52

<opbart_978>: we plan on filing complaints with the SF Grand Jury due to the SFPD Chief Suhr trying to shut down our right to protests, and if the threats continue we will file a lawsuit

19:53

<opbart_978>: last monday officers became aggressive and started pushing protesters and one officer even hit a protesters with a baton in his stomach

19:53

<opbart_978>: protester*

19:53

<NBC Bay Area>: what if one of your goals were met, for example. say, BART retrained it's officers. would that stop the protests? or is anonymous adamant about having all goals met?

19:54

<opbart_978>: we would like most demands met if one is impossible then we can negotiate a truce, but there is a fine line with truce, they have proven to ignore us

19:55

<opbart_978>: the only BART board member that seems to understand us is Sweet, we would like to thank her for being human

19:55

<NBC Bay Area>: have you faced any counter protests against your group when you are out? do you think that will happen tomorrow?

19:56

<opbart_978>: we believe and have gotten word that commuters are planning a counter protest, we will like them to know we care about them, commuters have spoken about getting violent with Anonymous, but again we fight for them also we are all brothers and sisters

19:57

<NBC Bay Area>: would you say the makeup of your group is the average BART rider? someone you would sit next to on the train? or is Anonymous a more specific group of people?

19:59

<opbart_978>: Anonymous is all over, Anonymous is everyone, we have lots of Anonymous members in SF and we do not discriminate, if you are tired of being oppressed then we are with you

19:59

<opbart_978>: we are the people

19:59

<NBC Bay Area>: Thank you very much for chatting with me and giving me some information

19:59

<NBC Bay Area>: I really appreciate it

19:59

<opbart_978>: you are welcome and thank you

 

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