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BART officials arrest at least four, close two stations amid protests

August 22, 2011 |  7:10 pm

Photo: The Bay Area Rapid Transit. Credit: Los Angeles Times Bay Area Rapid Transit officials have made at least four arrests and closed two subway stations as protesters gathered at the height of the evening commute for the second Monday in a row, according to the agency and local news accounts.

About 100 protesters who gathered at 5 p.m. this evening outside stations and on train platforms were from two organizations. One group is angered by fatal officer-involved shootings over the last two years, and the other by the agency's move earlier this month to thwart a demonstration by shutting off cellphone service.

According to local news accounts, BART officers arrested four people on the Civic Center Station train platform not long after Monday's  protest began. Some witnesses reported shouting matches between angry commuters and protesters who have snarled the busy commute three times now since July 11. BART is used by hundreds of thousands of regional commuters to cross the Bay from San Francisco to points east.

By 5:30 p.m., BART reported closing San Francisco's Powell Street and Civic Center stations.  Protesters began marching down Market Street, the city's main diagonal artery, toward the Ferry Building, blocking traffic in places.

Both subway stations were reopened shortly after 6 p.m., then closed again.

Officials with the San Francisco agency that operates municipal buses and cable cars also closed its Civic Center station, which shares an entry area with BART, and has replaced the storied Powell Street cable car popular with tourists with a shuttle bus.

Some who gathered in the stations were with a group known as No Justice No BART, which is protesting two fatal officer-involved shootings, most recently that of a transient named Charles Hill who was intoxicated and armed with a knife. Backers of Anonymous, the loose organization of hackers, had gathered outside the stations to demonstrate.


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Photo: A Bay Area Rapid Transit train. Credit: Los Angeles Times