Protesters gather on BART's Civic Center platform in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (KFSN) -- BART officials prepared to react quickly during a planned protest for Monday's rush hour commute at the Civic Center station in San Francisco. This protest was organized by Internet hacking group called "Anonymous".
BART said they would allow protesters to demonstrate outside the fare gates, but not inside. When the protesters gathered on the platform, authorities closed the Civic Center station. BART ran trains through the station, but would not stop trains there.
Around 5:40 p.m. the group of protesters started to march toward BART's Powell Station. At that time, BART closed the Powell Station as well.
Muni said as of 5:27 p.m., the metro service would not stop at the Civic Center Station due to the BART protest. In addition, service on the Powell Street portion of the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde cable car lines were being provided by Muni bus shuttle.
Many commuters left work early so they would not get delayed by the protest.
Earlier, BART Board President Bob Franklin said, "I think we're prepared for Monday and we'll see what's in store."
Franklin also said BART's priority has always been the safety of its passengers. However, when BART shut down cellphone service at several San Francisco stations to thwart a protest last week, it opened up a can of worms.
In retaliation, Anonymous defaced BART's website and planned more protests including the one for Monday night.
"When BART cut off wireless communication at those three stations -- that was a dumb move. It just adds fuel to the fire," said Peter Sealey of the Sausalito Group.
Public relations consultant Peter Sealey said BART's CEO and police chief should have been conducting damage control, early on.
"The senior person at a company has to get in front of the story and take responsibility. BART hasn't done that," said Sealey.
BART says pulling the plug prevented protesters from communicating and kept train service running.
KGO-TV SAN FRANCISCO, CA contributed to this report.
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