Ferguson Protest Shuts Down Oakland BART Station

Protesters outside the West Oakland BART station Nov. 28 carry a banner of Michael Brown, who was shot dead by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri Aug. 9. (Tiffany Camhi/KQED)

Transbay BART service shut down for about 2½ hours today due to a protest related to a grand jury's decision earlier this week not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

BART has now resumed normal service and the West Oakland station, where the protest occurred, has reopened. Passengers had to use AC Transit buses -- or drive or walk -- during the disruption.

BART police said 14 arrests were made. BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said the protest involved about 100 individuals. About two dozen of them chained themselves to each other after other protesters had chained themselves to poles inside trains, Trost said. This occurred on both sides of the West Oakland station and prevented trains from traveling through.

In at least one case, a post was removed with one of the protesters still attached.

Some protesters wore shirts with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

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"This is an organized way for the community to express its frustration," said Saleem Shakir-Gilmore, who was with the demonstrators. Referring to one of the biggest shopping days of the year, he said, "Young people have decided to shut down the West Oakland BART Station to prevent people from having a happy Black Friday, because black lives matter."

Here's video of the protest from the San Francisco Chronicle.


Activist groups had called for a consumer boycott of Black Friday in protest of the Ferguson case. Today's action on BART came amid protests nationwide against the grand jury decision not to indict.

Here's a video shot in downtown Oakland and narrated by civil rights attorney John Burris, calling for a Black Friday boycott.

KQED's Rachel Dornhelm spoke today to Gabriel Hetland, who teaches at UC Berkeley and whose research has looked at the relationship between capitalism and social movements. He said that linkage has been made previously in many places in the world, such as in Latin America, and that activists are increasingly making the connection in the U.S.

"In the U.S. for a while people weren’t seeing those links, but I think that vanished with the Occupy movement, for instance, where it was really clear there was widespread frustration and anger over the inequality and sort of priorities of our society," Hetland said.

"The question is: Do we value the security of everyone or do we value shopping?"

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Rolling updates below:

Update 1:20 p.m.

Update 1:03 pm. BART says West Oakland station has reopened.

Update 1 p.m.

BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said the Lake Merritt station also saw some protests but no service was disrupted.

Update 12:37 p.m.

BART service has begun to squeak back to life ...

We have begun limited train service in and out of San Francisco. West Oakland station is closed no trains will not stop at West Oakland. We have major delays system wide.
There is a major delay system wide due to civil unrest at West Oakland Station. There is no service into or out of San Francisco at this time. Please seek other forms of transportation. A/C Transit buses "O" or "NL" travel between the Transbay Terminal in San Francisco and Oakland.

Update 12:35 p.m. Photo from the Facebook page of Black Lives Matter.

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Update 12:02 p.m.

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Update 11:50 a.m.

 

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Update 11:42 a.m.

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Update 11:30 a.m.

Original post

From ABC7's Laura Anthony:

And from KTVU:

KQED's Alex Emslie was on his way from the East Bay to San Francisco when his BART train was stopped at the 12th Street Station in Oakland and taken out of service. He says an announcement was made that the service interruption was "due to civil disobedience" before it was eventually attributed to "civil unrest."