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After Cell-Phone Switch-Off, Anonymous Promises BART Protest

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 14, 2011 @02:45AM (#37083308)

    People have the right to protest all they want, but:

    1) BART has no obligation to assist them in doing so. BART had every right to turn off their equipment. Do these protesters expect to have the police drive them to the protest as well?

    2) If the protesters are interfering with mass transit, they're just being assholes. Yes, it's sad that someone got killed. No, this doesn't mean that tens of thousands of people should have their schedules fucked around with.

    The fact that this is such a big deal in the first place shows that these aren't real protesters anyway. They're just a bunch of spoiled SF kids thinking they're activists. Real activists wouldn't let something like not having internet access during the protest get in their way.

    • by mysidia (191772) * on Sunday August 14, 2011 @02:57AM (#37083334)

      2) If the protesters are interfering with mass transit, they're just being assholes. Yes, it's sad that someone got killed. No, this doesn't mean that tens of thousands of people should have their schedules fucked around with.

      Not only that... but if protesters are interfering with mass transit, they are committing a crime and should be arrested, if they do not leave/disperse when ordered to by officials.

      There are legal means of protest. And assemblies are legal, in some but not all public areas.

      Once you enter an area that requires a ticket or that is private property, you are no longer in a public venue for free unhampered expression; you are in an area for paying customers.

      And property owners (including the government) have a right to not allow protests on their private property.

      • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @03:11AM (#37083372)

        Once you enter an area that requires a ticket or that is private property, you are no longer in a public venue for free unhampered expression; you are in an area for paying customers.

        Buy the lowest cost ticket, enter the ticketed area. Simply dont board any trains. If I remember correctly BART tickets do not expire with time. And its only the distance (stops) that matter.

      • by iamhassi (659463)
        Exactly. The protestors should be arrested, especially the ones causing trouble, but shutting off the cellphone towers was not the solution because look at the fallout, it brought more attention to BART then any protest would and now it makes the Bay Area look like a police state. BART knew they were coming, why didn't they just alert the police? But maybe the more important question is how many more privately owned towers are out there and who gets to decide the reason to shut them off?
        • how many more privately owned towers are out there

          Er, all of them? Does anyone know any govt owned cell network/tower?

          • by Cwix (1671282)

            I'm guessing that iamhassi meant to say something along the lines of, how many third party cell towers exist. As in cell towers not owned by the service provider. Or cell towers that can be turned off on a whim by a third party.

            I also guess that you knew that when replying with the sarcastic comment. (Sarcasm) Thanks for being so helpful! (/sarcasm)

        • The protestors should be arrested

          Do you honestly think arresting people would have met with any smaller number of complaints to BART than turning off cell phone towers did? I can absolutely see headlines about the horrible BART police arresting innocent, peaceful protesters.

          I think the protesters put the BART authorities in a no-win situation. Based on everything I have read and heard, the protesters were planning to be disruptive and attempting to coordinate in a way to avoid the police. Had BART done nothing, I think they would have

    • 2) If the protesters are interfering with mass transit, they're just being assholes.

      Agreed, however...

      1) BART has no obligation to assist them in doing so. BART had every right to turn off their equipment.

      ...the BART authorities did have an obligation to keep that equipment turned on for normal, paying riders. We're not talking about a private business here; BART is a public, government-run facility and those transponders were paid for by our taxes and fares. They were shut off out of needless and stupid paranoia and it wouldn't have helped prevent an unlawful protest even if one did materialize, so it inconvenienced riders including me for no benefit whatsoever.

      And yes, the inconvenience w

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      Didn't you read BART's response?
      ""There are areas in the BART system that are designated free-speech areas. We support that," BART spokesman Jim Allison said."

      wow bart, really? Your damage control sucks, you dug yourself a hole and now you've jumped in and started burying yourself. "Free speech? Oh yeah, I've heard of that, its a good idea sometimes, but only when you stand over there inside the 'free speech' area."
      • by physicsphairy (720718) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @05:11AM (#37083768) Homepage

        Please explain to me why a society in which protesters are allowed to effectively shut down my transportation to blare their political statements is morally superior to one in which they can assemble in the nearby concourse where everyone will be able to hear what they're saying and read their signs just as well. Also, please post your address, so that I can setup a protest in your living room. (certainly you would not dare to designate a private area restricted from public expression!)

        • Limited "free" speech is not free at all.

          Privately owned "public" transportation/space is not public at all.

        • Also, familiarize yourself with the concept of a sit-down strike , ok?
        • by hedwards (940851)

          BART is a government agency and as such is bound to follow the constitution, whether or not it's a wise idea in a particular instance.

          Either protesters have the right to peaceably assemble on public property or they don't. And I'm not personally sure I see the difference between a protest on a street corner or in a park and one that happens in a publicly owned train station.

          • by Jiro (131519)

            The protest on the street corner doesn't disrupt the use of the street for other people. This protest would have kept normal people from using the subway.

        • by Aighearach (97333) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @01:55PM (#37087062) Homepage

          Because in your little sit quietly and be beaten society, the Civil Rights Movement failed and black people still can't vote!

          Like my dad always says, it's the minority that is kicking over fences that makes the peaceful protesters seem reasonable and get people to talk to them. Without them, the peaceful protesters will themselves be labelled as extremists and be ignored.

      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        You guys call the front of the bus the "free speech area"? In the southern U.S. we just call it "the front of the bus".

    • by sjames (1099) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @04:56AM (#37083730) Homepage

      Not really. BART is NOT a private corporation. Those repeaters are NOT private property. It was/is financed through sales taxes levied by the local government.

      They have no more right to shut down cell service to block free speech than the post office would to refuse to deliver flyers mailed by a protest group.

      They DO have a right to insist that any protest be carried out in an orderly manner and that it not endanger the safety of others.

      They sure like the benefits (like tax funding) they get from being a quasi-government body (www.bart.gov), so they will just have to deal with the downside.

      • by shugah (881805)
        I think the riots in London - which also started in response to a police shooting, probably played into the decision to shutdown the transponders.

        There are people, anarchists and others who just like to smash shit up and loot stores, who will take advantage of any public gathering to try and escalate it into a riot. We saw this with the WTO riots in Seattle, the G4 and G8 summits in Genoa and Toronto, the Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver and the recent riots in London. It's unfortunate, but the fact remai
        • by sjames (1099)

          It may have played a part in the decision, but that doesn't make it an acceptable Constitutional action.

          If you WANT things to devolve into chaos, a good way to start is to cut off communication between organizers. It seems that a repeated tactic is to provoke protesters until someone acts in anger, then start cracking skulls.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Yes, it's sad that someone got killed. No, this doesn't mean that tens of thousands of people should have their schedules fucked around with.

      Not their schedules! Oh noes! What's BART security beating a guy to death compared to peoples schedules?

      I hope anonymous shuts BART down for an hour or so, just to let them know that control can work both ways.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      This is funny "We will not tolerate censorship." Anonymous doesn't like censorship unless it is them doing it.

    • Do you remember what the protests are about? Injustice? MURDER? You don't know do you? Because somehow, this became all about how some people asking for change in their world have disrupted your commute to work. Are you for real? Are you actually the self serving, self-centered little cunt you come off as? I know the Bay Area breeds guys like you, but I was kinda hoping you all (as a group) had enough sense to know when to keep your mouth shut. I guess not.

      So, a BART employee murders a guy in col
  • ..shuting off cell-phones to get rid of angry protesters?

    It really won't stop anybody from organizing protests, it only affects the underground system, and makes things more chaotic.
    But while BART isn't as effective as Muammar, they seem to work through the same PR firm. Real clever. That will teach those kids a lesson
    What's the plan: "The beatings will continue until morale improves?"

    • Barring access to emergency services on purpose.
      that's the real effect of it. the first time I read about this was "what the fuck? open season on mugging?". I mean, public transports have been going just to the opposite direction in general in past years, like offering WIFI etc while in transit. so on purpose making cell service worse is.. eh, it's just a stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid show of power by some committee jockey in BART.

      they better hope no-one had a stroke or something similar..

      anyways - now the

  • ANONYMOUS seems to have a busy month planned with taking on Facebook and all. Glad to see that young people haven't lost the industrious spirit (/sarcasm)
  • by MacTO (1161105) on Sunday August 14, 2011 @03:49AM (#37083520)

    How about protesting outside station entrances? It is doubtful that the cellular providers would disable service at street level. Protesters also wouldn't disrupt physical transit service, though they can still make their point by disrupting individual commuters.

    Most important of all: it doesn't endanger the lives of people, since platforms can be a dangerous place.

    I remember hearing stories from a friend in a third world nation. When the government did something wrong they started destroying the trains in protest. The thing is, that destruction meant bugger all to the government (they don't use trains) so it really only made the lives of the protesters and the people who they claimed to represent worse. Which is exactly the sort of thing that Anonymous is doing. While it isn't quite that extreme yet, it could be within a few years if protesters keep upping the ante.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Platforms can be dangerous places, however if the protest causes things to become unsafe, that's what the police are for. One has a right to peaceably assemble, which implies that one isn't causing an unnecessary safety hazard.

      A few people with signs or shouting slogans is hardly going to cause dangerous conditions on the platform of any station that's in compliance with the local fire code.

  • Maybe everyone in the US knows the backstory but i didn't so I googled it. Here is what I found:

    On the 3 July 2011 a BART ( Bay Area Rapid Transport ) police officer shot dead Charles Hill ( 45 ). It appears Mr Hill was drunk but other than that stories vary wildly. No version of the story states Mr Hill had a gun, some versions say he was acting in a threatening manner with a bottle of drink. The controversy appears to be due to a police officer shooting an unarmed man when he had and should have used a ta

  • I'm not familiar with BART as I don't live out there, but was there an explicit promise that the fare for BART would also guarantee cellular service when on the BART system? If not, then I don't see how these people have grounds to complain. Someone else pointed out that the BART system has plenty of emergency phones available for actual emergencies, so what they are doing should not in any way be endangering public safety.
  • "There are areas in the BART system that are designated free-speech areas. We support that," BART spokesman Jim Allison said.

    The zones in which the Constitution is "officially" in effect are shrinking more and more. I don't seem to recall anything being in there about selective application of Constitutional protections at all (It's "officially" in effect 100% of the time in 100% of the country - it's not like a smoking zone), but ever since the idea started at political events - forcing those who want to ex

  • This is the problem with vigilantism. It starts out with a target many agree with, and then just starts looking for targets.

    Anonymous, you're now just another garden-variety thug. Proud of yourselves? Time for a new group to shut you down.

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