Fed-up San Francisco commuters battle BART protesters 

San Francisco commuters appeared to have had their fill of BART protesters Monday evening, fighting back against those demonstrating against the transit agency at downtown stations and along Market Street.

The protesters, as many as 100, successfully closed down BART stations and disrupted traffic throughout the evening for the second time in a week, but this time commuters did not sit by idly.

One angry commuter took his aggression out on a group of protesters by violently hitting several before fleeing on foot.

Protesters seemed to believe they were in the right.

“BART thinks we’re acting in a childish manner,” said Mario Fernandez, who said he follows the Internet hacking group Anonymous. “But we’re not disrupting anything. We’re not causing harm.”

But Yvette Delozada would disagree. While waiting for a Daly City train to take her home, she had a run-in with protesters who stood behind her on the platform at the Civic Center station.

“Mistakes happen; not everyone kills,” Delozada said. “I feel safer with [police] here.”

Jeanne Gavenda, 39, said she did not agree with the route the protesters were taking.

She stood on Market Street waiting for a bus to take her to her North of Panhandle home. Her commute was stalled as the group of 100 protesters walked up Market Street near Fourth Street.

Gavenda happily gave each protester the middle finger as they walked by.

“The fact that they’re not even from here doesn’t help win over support for their cause,” she said, referring to the protesters who come from outside The City to demonstrate. “It interrupts the lives of a lot of people.”

The protest turned chaotic around sundown. People were seen on Market Street throwing stink bombs at police, while others kicked glass at Muni bus stops.

The demonstration was loosely organized by Anonymous, which has taken issue with BART’s decision to thwart a protest two weeks ago by cutting off cellphone service in the Civic Center station. The online hacking group held a similar protest Aug. 15, which closed four downtown stations and snarled commutes for thousands of people. It’s the fifth protest since Charles Hill, a transient, was shot and killed inside the Civic Center station July 3.

BART police were quick to organize and close the Civic Center station within 30 minutes of the gathering, which began around 5 p.m.

Powell station also was closed and reopened several times.

According to news reports, 30 to 40 people were arrested by the end of the 3½-hour demonstration.


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