As BART critics plan a 5 p.m. Monday (today) protest at the Civic Center station for a third consecutive Monday, a group of riders plan a protest against the protesters. The new group called Commuters Take Back BART is frustrated by station closures triggered by protests against BART police, according to the group’s notice posted on Facebook.
Police may have their work cut out for them averting conflicts between the two protest groups. The original protest group is loosely organized by the shadowy group Anonymous, which is upset with BART’s turning off cell phone service in underground stations to thwart a protest of a police shooting. A BART police officer shot to death a knife-wielding homeless man July 3 at the Civic Center station.
The anti-protest group says in its description on Facebook, “Let’s take back BART from these misguided protesters and show them they are way out numbered and will not shut down BART again!”
Meanwhile, some of BART’s critics are calling for the protests to focus on BART police, not on station closures, as occured in the past. “This is incorrect and counterproductive, and further illustrates the main problem with OpBART: It is replete in revolutionary fervor, but severely lacking in focused ideology,” says on online statement posted at OpBARTSF.tumblr.com
Meanwhile, some of BART critics are urging that the protesters upset with BART focus their efforts on criticizing the transit system police force – and not focus on closing stations.
AnonyOps tweeted a message urging protesters to hand out a flier today saying that BART was responsible for closing stations to turn public opinion against the protesters. Protesters have made this claim before, but some protesters also have asserted they have the right to protest inside the station fare gates where BART officials say it’s dangerous to have demonstrators on crowded platforms. It is that threat, BART says, that spurred the transit system to close stations.
BART has advised riders to be prepared for possible station closures today and plan accordingly.
So what happens today? Check in later. And share you thoughts below on who should do what about the ongoing protests at BART stations