BART says trains are now stopping at all stations and that service is recovering from disruptions caused this morning by anti-police brutality protests. KQED reporter Isabel Angell, who was last at Powell Station, said the protesters there have disbanded after discussing future protest plans. Organizers have planned a series of actions through the Jan. 19 Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
This morning, BART trains intermittently skipped Powell, Montgomery and Embarcadero stations in response to the rolling protest. At one point, the agency said stops were "changing moment by moment."
Two people were arrested, said BART spokewoman Alicia Trost: a male for kicking a train window and a female for blocking a train door.
Muni responded to the disruptions by temporarily offering free rides to ticketed BART passengers. No Muni service was disrupted.
Dozens of protesters gathered at Montgomery Station around 7 a.m., Angell reported. They soon began banging metal spoons against pillars, and some tried to board a train but were blocked by BART police and employees in yellow vests. Deterred, the bulk of protesters headed to Embarcadero Station, chanting "black lives matter" and shadowed by police. Some remained at Montgomery and others headed to Powell Station, as BART reacted as best it could.
Meanwhile, a separate group of protesters chained themselves to the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building in Oakland, blocking the main entrance. KQED's Andrew Stelzer reported about 100 additional protesters gathered in support, with very little police presence. Workers were able to enter the building through other entrances.
And yet another action in San Francisco involved a "lawyer die-in for racial justice" at the California Supreme Court.
In addition to focusing on BART police shootings since the early 1990s -- including the killing of Oscar Grant in January 2009 -- activists are demanding that BART drop charges against 14 people who shut down transbay train service during a Black Friday protest in late November at West Oakland Station.
Organizers also say they want BART to disband its police force and to offer a ticket discount for the transit system's low-income customers.
The protests disrupted BART service several times, prompted dozens of arrests and led to controversy after the agency shut down cellphone service in its downtown San Francisco stations to try to thwart protesters' communications.
BART said that it would accommodate protests now -- but only outside the system's fare gates:
BART fully supports the right to peacefully protest, which is why it has an Expressive Activities Permit process allowing for the expression of First Amendment rights outside the fare gates of our stations. However, if protesters choose potentially dangerous actions that cause major service disruptions, BART Police are prepared to enforce the law and ensure public safety.
Activists organized Friday's protest mainly through Facebook and Twitter -- although on Thursday the event's Facebook page went dark for several hours without explanation. Protest organizers blamed Facebook.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
“Facebook took the page down, and we are definitely disappointed to see Facebook using surveillance tactics to infringe on our right to organize. What side are they really on in terms of people’s free speech and rights?” said Amai Freeman, 23, a spokesman for the organizers of Friday’s protest.
A Twitter account associated with the event — BART Friday: No Business As Usual — said Facebook gave “no reason for the event being deleted” from its site. ...
... The page was restored late Thursday afternoon, and Facebook said the problem was simply administrative.
While the page was down, a Facebook spokesperson said in an e-mail, “The event has been removed until the administrator can verify his or her account. We have personally reached out to the administrator to explain the steps that can be taken to verify their account so the event can be restored.”