The Federal Communications Commission is looking into BART's decision last week to cut its cell service to avert a planned protest of a BART Police shooting. NBC Bay Area's Kimberly Tere has more on that story and a wrap-up of today's protest in San Francisco.
Police shut down San Francisco's Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery and Embarcadero BART stations for a time Monday evening after protesters successfully disrupted the evening commute.
Muni lines were also impacted at those stations. BART closed and then reopened stations as the protesters moved down Market Street.
The protesters had two messages. First they were protesting the fatal shooting of a man in a BART station last month. Second, they were protesting BART's decision to shut down access to cell phones during a planned protest last week.
The closure didn't stop the people who were already in the Civic Center station from protesting on the platform. Many of them held phones and made statements into the phone such as, "Can you hear me now?" in reference to BART's decision last Thursday to shut off cell phones.
Several protesters wore masks similar to the icon of the group "Anonymous." Video from inside the station showed there were nearly as many police in riot gear in the Civic Center station as there were protesters.
Protesters also gathered outside the station on Civic Center plaza. About 100 of them marched down Market Street around 5 p.m., ending at the Embarcadero BART station which was also shut down for a time. A line of police in riot gear stood at the base Market Street near the Embarcadero station as both sides held their ground for about 30 minutes. Traffic up and down Market street was a mess for the entire evening commute.
By 7:30 p.m., the four downtown BART stations re-opened. The protest ended peacefully with no arrests and no injuries.
Earlier in the day, BART officials said that their decision to cut cellphone service on Thursday was made out of concern for passengers' safety. The move has been widely criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union and others. In response to the shutdown, the hacker protest group "Anonymous" organized Monday's protest. It also took credit for a cyber attack over the weekend that resulted in the release of personal information for at least 2,400 users of the agency's myBART.org website.
Thursday's protest, which never truly materialized, was in response to the fatal shooting of Charles Hill by BART police in the Civic Center station on July 3.