Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Protest shuts San Francisco stations

A man climbs on top of a commuter train during a protest at the Civic Center BART station in San Francisco, Monday, July 11. BART shut down cell service on August 11 to prevent a similar protest.

Source: Press TV

A protest in San Francesco has forced the shutdown of four subway stations, as people condemned US police brutality and demanded the right for free speech.

During the demonstrations, organized by the hacker group Anonymous on Monday, the stations, including the Civic Center station, were temporarily closed during the rush hour by authorities, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

On Thursday people had taken to the streets in San Francisco to voice their anger toward the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), which had urged the Bay Area Rapid Transit commuter train service (BART) to shut down cell phone networks in some stations to prevent demonstrators from organizing a protest over the fatal shooting of a man last month by police.

Charles Hill was fatally shot on July 3 by BART police officers.

"This was a complete silencing of the people," said a protester on Monday, calling the shutting down of cell phone services "anti-free speech tactics."

Rights groups have also slammed the act saying that blocking the telecommunications service is against the US Constitution's First Amendment right which accords free speech to its citizens.

Although officers arrived in riot gears, SFPD announced that there had been no arrests during the protests.

Anonymous had asked the demonstrators to download software for short-range cell phone-to-cell phone messaging before the Monday protests in case the in-station networks were shut down again.

However, the cell phone service remained unblocked during Monday protests -- a sign of victory, as protesters said.

BART said on Thursday that a website for its users,, had been hacked by hackers claiming civil rights motives.

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