UPDATE: Protesters declare BART action over as transit system recovers from downtown SF station closures 

UPDATE: As of about 9 a.m., two hours after it began, protesters declared the action at Montgomery station over. "We have done an extraordinary job of getting the message through: Black lives matter, low-income fares and drop the charges against the Black Friday 14!" shouted protester Jaime Silva the crowd. "We can do this every Friday. We can handle it." He then shouted: "BART cannot."

UPDATE: Also at about 9 a.m., BART was advising riders to check for updates online as "station stops are changing moment by moment."

UPDATE: As of 8:25 a.m., the Embarcadero station is open again.

ORIGINAL STORY: Protesters on Friday morning forced the closure of the Montgomery and Embarcadero BART stations in downtown San Francisco, with nothing more than spoons.

As of 7:45 a.m., Montgomery station had reopened but Embarcadero remained closed, with trains passing through.

BART reported two arrests as of 8:10 a.m.

More than a hundred protesters gathered at Montgomery BART station about 7 a.m. as part of another Black Lives Matter demonstration, demanding that BART drop the $70,000 in restitution it ordered for the "Black Friday 14" protesters.

The protesters at Montgomery station showed their displeasure for the charges against the Black Friday 14 by clanging metal spoons against the metal structural columns on the platform. The loud clang accompanied their chants.

"Mike check!" they shouted in unison. "We all want to get on BART!"

Amai Freeman, the protest spokesperson, said that cry had much to do with not only police justice but economic justice. BART should be free for low-income riders, he said.

click to enlarge A woman is detained by BART police at the Montgomery station Friday morning. - JOE FITZGERALD RODRIGUEZ/S.F. EXAMINER
  • Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner
  • A woman is detained by BART police at the Montgomery station Friday morning.

At one point during the protest, one train inadvertently opened its doors. Demonstrators pushed their way in, straddling the doorway to stop the train. A crowd gathered, and BART officers pushed their way through.

The demonstrators were dislodged from the doorway, and the train continued west toward the Powell stop.

Mira Ingram, who uses a wheelchair, tried to get off a BART train at Montgomery station about 7:30 a.m. but the operator would not open the door. Some 40 minutes later, she had made her way from Embarcadero station to join the protest.

"I was pissed," she told The San Francisco Examiner. Ingram arrived to The City before a scheduled appointment so she would have time for the protest. She ended up being late for both.

Haylee Smith, an Oakland resident, was late to her job at Salesforce due to the closure of Embarcadero station.

"I'm all for protest," she said, "but this is just tedious."

When told of the protesters' aim to have the $70,000 restitution rescinded, she was not sympathetic.

"A lot of people use BART, so I agree with [the payment]," she said. "It's like breaking something in a store."

Ingram had another take. She said not only is the restitution unfair, but in her experience BART police are insensitive to people with disabilities.

Some riders were supportive of the protest.

Inshirah Tsetse talked to The Examiner as she got off a train at Montgomery station.

"I think it's stupid" to charge protesters $70,000, she said. "You mean we charge for freedom of speech?"

At about 8:30 a.m., BART spokeswoman Cheryl Stalter said she did not know when agency police would give a dispersal order to protesters, which would make more arrests possible if protesters were to disobey the order.

"They're actually pretty peaceful," Stalter said of the demonstrators.

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey told The Examiner that "as long as they don't stop the system, we're fine. We're prepared to go as long as they are."

VIDEO: #BART makes an arrest at #BARTFriday protest, this morning

A video posted by Joe Fitzgerald (@fitzthereporter) on

About The Author

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Born and raised in San Francisco, Fitzgerald Rodriguez was a staff writer at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and now writes the S.F. Examiner's political column On Guard. He is also a transportation beat reporter covering pedestrians, Muni, BART, bikes, and anything with wheels.
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