A demonstration against BART police ended with two arrests, but did not disrupt service to commuters Monday evening, a turnaround from previous demonstrations.
As many as 70 protesters marched along Market Street from the Civic Center station to the Embarcadero station, entering free areas of each BART station along the way but never accessing the platforms, in order to prove it was the transit agency’s administration’s decision to disrupt service, protesters said.
“We are not closing BART stations,” said Krystof Cantor of No Justice, No BART. “They are inconveniencing people and they are killing innocent people.”
Cantor, however, was arrested after entering the gates at Embarcadero Station to “test” the BART police on their promise not to interrupt the protest if it remained out of the paid area. One other arrest was made at Embarcadero Station.
Hundreds of police officers — who clearly outnumbered the protesters — were deployed at the downtown BART stations. San Francisco police lined Market Street to keep protesters on the sidewalks and allow traffic to pass through.
At one point near Sixth Street, several masked protesters successfully entered Market Street to “take back” the streets but were quickly moved back to the sidewalk by police.
This was the sixth protest in response to the July 3 killing of transient Charles Hill at the Civic Center Station by a BART police officer. One of the organizers of the protest, the hacker group Anonymous, tried to refocus efforts from previous demonstrations that turned quickly from marches on BART platforms to chaos in the streets of San Francisco.
Anonymous released a statement over the weekend urging protesters to focus not on station closures — which angered many commuters — but on police brutality.
One of the protesters, Gina Krawiec, said the shootings should not have happened.
“There needs to be a systematic change,” she said. “Why is there so many police, we’re peaceful, we’re staying peaceful but they have BART, SFPD and Homeland Security here to intimidate us.”
A counterprotest from the LGBT community, upset over the release of private photos of BART spokesman Linton Johnson, who is gay, was canceled. The photos were released in response to Johnson’s involvement in the decision to disrupt cellphone service for the Aug. 11 protest.
Protests held the previous two Mondays took a different route and affected service and BART and Muni light rail stations downtown. BART closed as many as four stations over the course of those protests. As many as 46 people were arrested during the Aug. 22 protest.