BART Shuts Down Cell Service To Thwart Rumored Protests, Gets Actual Protests (And Has To Close Stations)

Since shutting down cell service on Thursday to try to quell rumored protests which never came to fruition, the Bay Area Transit Authority (BART) has had an interesting weekend and Monday.

Aside from getting investigated by the FCC as to whether it exceeded its authority in shutting off cellphones, the myBART website has been hacked by collective Anonymous on Sunday, with Anonymous claiming that the hack was motivated by the fact that BART’s actions were anti-free speech. The breech exposed identifiable contact information of over 2,000 employees and passengers.

While the original protests were planned in response to the shootings of Charles Hill and Oscar Grant by transit police, Anonymous also took their anti-BART campaign to real life by organizing more protests against the cell service disruption, starting today at San Francisco’s Civic Center startion at 5pm. This resulted in a sort of dual protest, both for the cell service issue and the deaths.

According to local reports, the movement was at its height around 100 people, chanting slogans like “No justice, no peace, disband the BART police.” All in all four subway stations, Civic Center, Powell, Embarcadero and Montgomery were shut down and reopened within an hour’s period. Perhaps having learned its lesson the hard way, BART did not interfere with cell service this time, although it had threatened to.

Today’s protests ended quietly and aside from the vague “We do not forgive” threats in this  video none of Anonymous’ many mouthpieces have given inkling on what they plan to do next. As with anything these days you can follow the protests on Twitter at #OpBart and #MuBARTek (a reference to former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who unsuccessfully tried similar tactics to quash protests).

Image: SF Appeal