(Bay City News) Close to 100 protesters gathered before the start of Monday evening’s commute for a demonstration at the Civic Center BART station in San Francisco, and in response to the crowd’s disruption of evening train service at the station, BART has temporarily suspended service at that station. Further reports indicated that Powell station was also closed when the protesters moved to that station.
San Francisco Municipal Railway service at Civic Center station has also been suspended.
Last week, BART police shot and killed a knife-wielding man at Civic Center, and the group No Justice, No BART said it is demanding that the BART Police Department be disbanded.
The group is also demanding that both of the two officers involved in the July 3 shooting of 45-year-old Charles Hill be fired and criminally charged if it is found that the shooting was not justified.
Monday’s protest was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on the platform of the Civic Center station. Several dozen people had gathered at the station by 4:45 p.m., and BART safety officers in green vests had a notable presence on the train platform.
BART police in riot gear monitored the situation and had non-lethal weapons ready.
By 5:15 p.m. the crowd had thickened and began chanting “No justice, no peace, disband the BART police” and “Cops, pigs, murderers.”
Once one East Bay-bound train inched into the station, some protesters boarded the train and began banging on the train’s windows. After about 10 minutes, safety officers and police were able to close the train’s doors and the train departed the station.
Shortly afterward, at about 5:20 p.m., the station’s LED message boards displayed messages informing passengers that no trains would be stopping at Civic Center station.
By 5:30 p.m., Muni announced that its service had also been suspended at the station.
Earlier today BART spokesman Linton Johnson said such a protest would be illegal.
“Disruptive protests like this planned on small platforms with fast-moving trains and large crowds are against the law because they put … riders, BART workers, journalists and protesters at serious risk of injury or death,” he said.
Hill was wielding a knife and a broken alcohol bottle before BART police shot him on the train platform, Johnson said.
BART police said Hill was aggressive and combative and did not comply with orders. One of the officers suffered minor cuts during the confrontation, BART officials said.
A Facebook page has been set up for Monday afternoon’s rally, and as of Monday morning, more than 370 people had indicated they would attend.
No Justice, No BART was formed in response to the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant III. Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward resident who was unarmed, was shot and killed by then-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station in Oakland.
The Oakland Tribune also has a report.