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Two arrested in loud, peaceful protests

Two people were arrested during protests Friday morning that disrupted service at the Powell Street, Montgomery Street and Embarcadero BART stations, BART officials said.

BART service in San Francisco has resumed with some delays after the three downtown stations were closed at various times Friday morning. BART had warned riders that protests this morning could disrupt service.

Based on ridership estimates released by spokeswoman Alicia Trost, it seems that many commuters heeded that warning — BART ridership was down 24,000 compared to Thursday.

Trost said that two people were arrested during the course of the protests: a man suspected of kicking a train window and a woman suspected of blocking a train car door. The male protester was detained and dragged off the Montgomery BART platform by BART police at about 7:15 a.m.

Hundreds of protesters initially gathered below street level at the Montgomery station around 7 a.m. When a train approaching from the East Bay pulled up to the station and did not open it’s doors to let passengers out, protesters began clinking metal spoons against the metal pillars in the station.

A loud clanging sound, resulting from hundreds of people with spoons hitting metal, could be heard across the station beginning around 7:10 a.m. Shortly before 7:30 a.m. the crowd of protesters began to ascend to street level and announced plans to march to Embarcadero station.

The protesters, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and clinking their metal spoons against the ground, pillars and trains, began to file off the platform, carrying signs. One sign had the word “Justice” scrawled in blood-red paint and another was adorned with photos of those who had recently been killed by law enforcement.

At Embarcadero station, BART police stopped protesters from entering the platform, leading the crowd to gather outside the station and head back to Montgomery Street Station and then to the Powell Street station.

A protester with Stop Mass Incarceration Bay Area, Joey Johnson, said he came to today’s protest because he said “there is a slow genocide going on” but that’s it’s so commonplace that people have adjusted to it. It’s an “intolerable situation,” he said.

Protesters entered the Powell BART station after blocking traffic on their march down Market Street from Montgomery Street station this morning. Protesters chanted “Drop the charges on the BART 14” as they gathered outside the Powell Street station. 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.

Protestors have released demands ahead of the demonstrations including for BART to drop all charges against the “Black Friday 14,” a group of 14 activists arrested for chaining themselves to a BART train at the West Oakland Station on Nov. 28. The protestors are calling for “No Business as Usual” at BART.

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