Transit police arrested protesters and briefly closed two subway stations during the evening commute Monday during a small demonstration over BART's tactic of cutting wireless communication to quell a previously planned protest.
It was the second such protest in seven days at the same Civic Center station, where transit police shot and killed a transient July 3, which was the original target of demonstrators. Both protests were over the BART action.
Transit police showed less tolerance and patience than the previous demonstration.
"This has been an ongoing process," BART Deputy Chief Daniel O. Hartwig said of the decision to make arrest protesters for the first time.
The social activist group Anonymous called for the protests Monday and last week in response to BART shutting wireless service at four of its stations Aug. 11.
The transit agency cut wireless service that day after learning organizers of a protest of the transient's shooting death were planning on issuing last-minute instructions through social networks and text messaging designed to disrupt the rush-hour commute.
The Aug. 11 protest failed to materialize after the BART tactic was implemented, and the commute went smoothly. But the transit agency drew worldwide criticism and is now at the center of a heated debate over free speech, social networks and public safety.
"I don't even own a cell phone, but what BART did was wrong," said David Kubrin, 72, of San Francisco. "We are seeing elements of a police state more and more everyday."
The nine-member BART board of directors has scheduled a special meeting Wednesday to discuss the policy. BART police kept the wireless service on during the last two protests. -- The Associated Press