Separate protests shut down transit stations, block federal building San Francisco Bay Area

Demonstrators shut down two San Francisco transit stations Friday morning to bring attention to what they say are unfair charges against 14 protesters accused of blocking rail service two months ago.

Bay Area Rapid Transit says its trains were not stopping at the Montgomery and Embarcadero stations downtown as activists overtook the system to protest what they call police brutality. Commuters reported a tougher-than-usual commute, the San Francisco Chronicle reported ( ).

Activists say the protests aimed to pressure Alameda County prosecutors to drop charges against 14 people accused of halting BART service by chaining themselves to trains and each other at West Oakland Station in late November.

That protest was among many in California and nationwide stemming from a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

Jim Allison, a BART spokesman, told the newspaper that the agency supports peaceful protest but the system's officers will respond if demonstrators endanger public safety or cause major service disruptions.

Meanwhile, in nearby Oakland, a few dozen protesters, holding "Black resistance matters" and "Black power matters" blocked the entrance to a federal building Friday morning. The protest was not linked to the San Francisco demonstration.

Protesters say the transit demonstration will kick off four days of action over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. The actions will take place at "community meetings and street corners and come in the form of shut downs, guerrilla theater, teach-ins and concerts" and culminate in a Monday morning demonstration in downtown Oakland, organizers said.


Information from: San Francisco Chronicle,