Thursday, September 8, 2011

2011-09-08 "BART cops arrest dozens at protest in free-speech area" by Andrea Koskey
Protesters attempting to demonstrate in BART’s free-speech areas Thursday evening were quickly thwarted as transit agency police officers surrounded and detained about 30 people within the Powell Street station.
BART officials have previously said they would allow protests and freedom of speech demonstrations as long as they remained outside fare gates in the free speech area.
The arrests were made on grounds of interfering with BART’s ability to “provide safe operation of a railroad,” according to agency Deputy Police Chief Daniel Hartwig.
“We’re doing what BART police told us to do,” one protester said as he was taken away by police. “We’re outside the fare gates; we’re doing nothing illegal.”
The station was closed for about two hours following a 20-minute protest where dozens of community organizers wanted to test the free speech limitations of BART, according to Krystof Cantor of No Justice, No BART, which called for the demonstration.
“We don’t trust BART to protect us,” he said. “We’re here to see how warmly we are received.”
Cantor and many others slowly walked the perimeter of the nonpaid areas of the station’s main lobby, chanting, “Whose BART? Our BART!” and “How can BART protect and serve us? BART police just make me nervous!” BART police then moved in and created a perimeter surrounding the group. Cantor was the first person detained.
As protesters walked, though, commuters hurried to catch trains before the station closed.
Protesters had hoped the number of people gathered outside the gates would force BART to open the station and allow commuters to ride for free. Instead, the Powell Street station was closed by 5:30 p.m. All other stations remained open.
Hartwig said BART police and officials make the decision about when to arrest protesters. Though he would not respond to questions about the violation each person was arrested on, Hartwig said the crowd prevented passengers from getting through and police had to act.
“We are obliged to protect the system and protect our passengers,” he said.
Many of those detained were members of the media and student journalists from San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco.
This is the sixth protest since July 11. Four have been organized by online hacker group Anonymous in response to BART shutting down cellphone service during a previous demonstration. Groups involved in Thursday’s protest have said they are responding to police brutality, specifically the fatal shootings of Oscar Grant III on New Year’s Day 2009 and Charles Hill on July 3.

2011-09-09 "BART protesters arrested - Powell Station closed" by Justin Berton and Vivian Ho from "San Francisco Chronicle"

A crowd of chanting protesters converged on the Powell Street BART Station Thursday night and confronted police in riot gear, who formed a wall to block them from approaching the pay gates and then closed the station for two hours.
At least 50 protesters chanted "No justice, no peace" as they confronted officers. Several screamed and tussled with police as they were arrested in yet another episode of commuting delays and havoc on the besieged system.
The demonstrators, who dubbed themselves No Justice No BART, had promised to lie down in front of the turnstiles at the downtown San Francisco station, but they didn't get that far.
Police surrounded a group of protesters, including reporters, and then began making arrests. The protesters yelled at police, and some apparently struggled a bit as they were detained, but there was no violence.
Christopher Cantor, a 35-year-old protest leader from Oakland who goes by the name Krystof Lopaur; Christian Ream, 27, of San Francisco; and Mario Fernandez, 27, of Oakland, were among the protesters cuffed and led away by police during the confrontation, which began about 5:30 p.m. BART officials said 20 to 30 people were arrested on charges of disturbing the safe operation of a railroad.

Free rides -
"We weren't violating any laws, weren't causing an obstruction," complained Rick Altieri, 23, who was among the detainees. "There was no communication between police and protesters, no warning at all."
One Chronicle reporter and several student journalists were detained briefly. Meanwhile, the rest of the protesters fled up the escalators and stairs, and outside, where they chanted "Let them go, let them go."
Service at the station was stopped during the protest. Nobody was allowed to enter. Passengers exiting trains were allowed to exit. The Powell Station was reopened to passengers at 7:25 p.m.
The idea of the demonstration was to force BART to open the emergency exits and let passengers walk out for free. The protest group had intended to inconvenience the agency without inconveniencing passengers, but it didn't work out that way.
Agency officials had announced earlier in the day that they would not bow to the demands of the protesters.
"If they block the fare gates and do so in violation of the law, they are subject to arrest," said BART spokesman Jim Allison.
It was the latest in a series of actions by a large group of protesters who hope to force the transit agency to disband its police force. The group is upset about a BART police officer's fatal shooting of a transient on July 3 at Civic Center Station, allegedly as the man wound up to throw a knife. They are also angry about the agency's decision Aug. 11 to shut down underground wireless service to thwart a planned protest.
A hack attack was among the various disruptive tactics. Hackers infiltrated the and BART police union sites last month and leaked private information, including the addresses of officers, in response to the agency's shutdown of wireless service Aug. 11.

Little sympathy -
The cause has not generated a lot of sympathy from passengers.
Several angry pedestrians and commuters confronted the demonstrators Thursday as they chanted and loitered outside the closed station, accusing them of selfishly disrupting train service and inconveniencing commuters.
"I think they are really being inconsiderate," said Bruce Halperin, 24, of San Francisco, who argued with several of the demonstrators. "They have the right to protest but they are abridging other people's rights by crowding the fare gates and not letting other people move about."

Commuters angered -
Past demonstrations against BART over the past several weeks have infuriated commuters, who have been delayed when the agency closed stations in response to the protesters' actions. Some angry commuters have shouted at protesters, and one attacked them.
Allison said BART's response to the demonstration adds to an estimated $300,000 price tag for dealing with the protests in downtown San Francisco.
"In the past, there have been spontaneous events, including antiwar and immigration rallies and the Giants (World Series) parade, where it was safer to open the swing gates and let everyone through," Allison said. "But I'm not aware of any case where someone has announced in advance, 'We're going to do this and you must open the swing gates' " he said, referring to the emergency exits that the protesters sought to have opened Thursday.

Beck Diefenbach / Special to The Chronicle
Protesters carry a banner depicting "Disarm Cops, Arm Feminists" during a protest in the Powell Street BART and MUNI station on Thursday, September 8, 2011 in San Francisco, Calif.

2011-09-06 "Statement Read At Press Conference Today Regarding Upcoming Sept 8th BART Protest" by "Feminists against Cops"
As Feminists against Cops, we want everyone across the bay area to know that women are not safer because of police presence, in BART or elsewhere. Quite the opposite. Many women are in danger because of the police. Every police institution is sexist and violent. The police are more of a threat to women than a protection, and we do not want our public transport system militarized.
Let’s be clear: the police are here to protect the capitalists and the state institutions, not us. The police have been given the authority to determine our freedom of movement, to harass us and enter our homes. The police even have the authority to determine if we live or die.
There are many accounts of police murdering youth of color in the bay area, or of police murdering homeless people, or whomever they see fit. There are as many accounts of police using their power as police and as men to dominate, harass, intimidate, imprison, and rape women. Many police feel that they have a right to women’s bodies, and when they abuse our bodies it is considered “normal” police procedure.
We are not asking for a less brutal police force because we know that brutality is an inevitable product of this policing system. Police only exist in order to brutally repress us. We must free ourselves. We are asking you to join us as we continue to struggle against the police. The quick and inhumane murder of Charles Hill is a warning: if you call the police you are putting people in danger of their lives.
To the media and to the police we say: do not use women’s bodies and the claim that you are protecting our bodies as an excuse for murder. You called Kenneth Harding a pimp to excuse shooting him in the back. But Kenneth Harding was not harming any women when he was murdered-he was evading paying his fare as many of us do. The ridiculous BART fares are a burden for people who struggle for survival. We evade fares because we claim the right to be able to move freely even if we don’t have the money to pay the fares. Since evading fare is part of how we survive and move freely, then this also means that in order to survive and move freely, we must resist police.
Our message to the police is this: we are under no illusion that you make us safer, or that you protect us. We women join these anti-police movements, including the Oscar grant riots and the response to the murders of Charles Hill and Kenneth Harding, because safety to us as women means resisting the police.

2011-09-09 "Glen Park BART attacked: We didn't do it for the lulz" by "Some Bay Area Anarchists"
On the evening of September 8th, 2011 we sabotaged the fare machines, turnstyles and facade of the Glen Park BART station in South San Francisco. Just as we have been inspired by comparable actions of anarchists world wide, we hope to act as a catalyst to incite similar actions against the state and it's apparatuses of control.
On the evening of September 8th, 2011 we sabotaged the fare machines, turnstyles and facade of the Glen Park BART station in South San Francisco. Just as we have been inspired by comparable actions of anarchists world wide, we hope to act as a catalyst to incite similar actions against the state and it's apparatuses of control.
Our spray cans dispensed slogans and our hammers shattered screens and ticket readers. We look to each other to find meaning and reject the limiting discourse of rights and free speech as a vehicle for our rage. We communicate this now to denounce the authority of a society that violently represses us every time we step out of line.
All police are the enemy. We articulate this when we choose to honor the lives of Oscar Grant, Charles Hill and Kenneth Harding by fighting for our own lives. This same passion for freedom can be observed from Seattle to Greece to Chile. As anarchists we understand that the social control of transit fares exists in harmony with the deadly enforcement of the physical, emotional, and social desolation of our everyday lives. We aim to interrupt this concert at every feasible opportunity.
The police and the media will spin this event as petty vandalism. Some will condemn us and suggest that violence against property promotes state repression, but we have lost our fear. We do not seek approval from any authority and for this reason we abandon the tired structure of demand.We look to explore our capacity to exemplify our collective abilities and to encourage others to resist in ever more autonomous and uncontrollabe ways. Freedom to those arrested at today's Powell Street action. See you at the barricades.
PS: mad props to the wildcat longshoremen of washington. keep it wild

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2011-09-09 "Vandals attack BART's Glen Park station"
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- BART police are investigating an attack by vandals at the Glen Park station in San Francisco.
A group of about 10 to 20 vandals damaged turnstiles and spray-painted graffiti at the Glen Park station Thursday night. They swung hammers and destroyed the Clipper Card readers at the station's entrance. Some of the devices are still not working Friday morning. Someone scrawled the name of Charles Hill on the ground. He's the man who was shot to death by BART police in July.
BART's Powell Street station is open Friday morning following Thursday evening's protest that shut it down at the height of the commute. Police arrested more than two dozen protestors on the platform. The group called 'No Justice, No BART' was trying to force BART into allowing passengers to ride the trains for free. They wanted to make the station so congested, that officials would have no choice but to open the emergency gates.

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