2 arrested in BART protest during morning commute

Amy Hollyfield Image
ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Friday, January 16, 2015
2 arrested in BART protest during morning commute
BART ridership was down 24,000 passengers Friday morning due to the protest. BART officials warned passengers in advance to consider alternative ways to get to work ahead of the planned demonstrations at downtown San Francisco BART stations.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Protesters took their message to the BART system this morning-creating a confusing, slow and noisy commute.

The noise came from the banging of spoons on trains and metal pillars. It was so loud, it was hard to hear the person next to you talking.

"It was a way for us use noise and disruption to draw attention to the action," protest organizer Amai Freeman said.

PHOTOS: Protesters disrupt the morning BART commute

The other way demonstrators drew attention was by blocking doors and stalling the trains. Police kept pulling people out of the doors so the train could move. One woman was arrested for standing in the door and a man was also arrested for banging his spoon in the windows of the BART train.

"That's dangerous because if that glass shatters on someone sitting in the train, someone will get hurt we don't allow things like that," BART police chief Kenton Rainey said.

This action was spread out between Montgomery, Powell and Embarcadero stations. BART at various times would order trains to keep rolling through and not stop at those stations. Organizers considered this a success.

"I think by closing the stations we were able to interrupt business as usual and highlight that police murder is not tolerable,"

They were also protesting the arrest of 14 people who chained themselves together at a previous BART protest. They want the charges dropped against them.

This morning's group won over some commuters and lost others. A wheelchair bound woman was very frustrated at not being able to get off at Montgomery.

VIDEO: BART ridership down Friday due to protest

"I'm in a wheelchair. I can't get around. They can't shut down the BART it's against the ADA," Mira Ingram, a San Francisco resident said.

She missed her doctor's appointment because of the closures and decided to come back and support the protestors. But this man was frustrated with the group.

"I guess sometimes you got to speak your mind and do what you got to do for our community but this is noisy and hectic and I just want to get to work and I am late now because they stopped the trains ," Richmond resident Edward Simon said.

The protest is part of a planned weekend-long series of direct action events ending in a March in Oakland on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

PHOTOS: Protesters shut down West Oakland BART station in November, 2014

For full coverage on the protests against police brutality, click here.