Protesters Storm Civic Center BART, Trains Halt, Stations Closed

Thumbnail image for rsz_protest.jpg
Lauren Smiley
Just your avergae BART police protester
Update 6:30 p.m.: Protesters have lost steam. The chants are dying down and the crowd has thinned out to about 20 people. Allison reports that Embarcadero was closed for five minutes but has since reopened. Montgomery Street station has also opened to passengers coming and going. However, if you are hoping to hop on Muni, word on the street is that the line to get on the F Market is a nightmare!

Update 6:10 p.m.: BART spokesman Jim Allison tells SF Weekly that Montgomery station is closed to all passengers while Civic Center and Powell Street stations are only allowing passengers to exit, not enter the station. BART could not confirm whether there have been any arrests yet, but Allison said that cell phone service was working as normal throughout BART. No word on whether Embarcadero station will be closed. "It's a fluid situation," Allison said. "We're just trying to keep the passengers safe."

Update 5:50 p.m.: Protesters splintered off into separate groups. Chen is following a group down Van Ness Avenue, where they are walking in the middle of the street and disrupting traffic. Angry drivers are honking at the chanting protesters.

Update 5:40: About 100 protesters left Civic Center BART and are marching on Market Street. Chen tells us that police say Powell Street station is now closed.

Update 5:30 p.m.: BART closed down Civic Center station and no trains are stopping. Police are there in riot gear, declaring it to be an illegal assembly.They will begin arresting protesters in five minutes.

Update 5:20 p.m.: One train was held up briefly at the Civic Center station while protesters chanted  "No justice, no peace, disband the BART police."

SF Weekly's Caroline Chen headed down to Civic Center BART station where it was all quiet except for the sound of a lonely violin. But by 5:10 p.m. about 75 protesters are gathered downstairs, as promised.

So far there's no sign of service disruption, just a bunch of cops, reporters, and rabble rousers standing around with signs.

The notorious hacker group, Anonymous, promised to gather at 5 p.m. today to interrupt the evening commute on top of already breaching over the weekend. The hackers lifted personal information -- including passwords, names, phone numbers, addresses, and logins -- of thousands of BART riders.

Lauren Smiley
... and then there was this guy
The hacking and the protest is in response to BART's curious move last week to shutdown cell service at four BART stations after learning that protesters were using their phones to coordinate a rally. The protest last Thursday, which was in response to the July 3 shooting death of Charles Hill, never came to fruition.

Chen tells us that a couple of protesters are walking around the station now with detached phones, saying "Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?"

Check back for updates.

More pictures from the protest today:
Lauren Smiley

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protesters stormed ? really. I think you'd need at least two thousands to make a storm....

Mandible M
Mandible M

Democracy Now! had great coverage of the protest on the show this morning. They interviewed activist as well as a member of the ACLU who talked about recent cell phone and internet crack downs. They even spoke with a member of the group Anonymous who helped hack the BART website. Here is the link to the interview:

This is the Anonymous interview:


so they disrupted evening commuters for an hour. explain to me how exactly this will achieve any of the state goals? and why didn't they protest at BART hq, where the decisions were made?

Oh right. Out of town folks wouldn't know to do that. Nor would they understand that BART covers several counties. Oh well, at least kids had a fun playday.

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