"By PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press – Sat Aug 13, 3:52 am ET
SAN FRANCISCO – Transit officials blocked cellphone reception in San Francisco train stations for three hours to disrupt planned demonstrations over a police shooting.
Officials with the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, better known as BART, said Friday that they turned off electricity to cellular towers in four stations from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday. The move was made after BART learned that protesters planned to use mobile devices to coordinate a demonstration on train platforms.
The tactic drew comparisons to those used by the former president of Egypt to squelch protests demanding an end to his authoritarian rule. Authorities there cut Internet and cellphone services in the country for days earlier this year.
"BART officials are showing themselves to be of a mind with the former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak," the Electronic Frontier Foundation said on its website.
The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the tactic, saying on its blog that it was the "wrong response to political protests."
BART officials were confident the cellphone disruptions were legal. They said in a statement that it's illegal to demonstrate on the platform or aboard the trains, and that it has set aside special areas for demonstrations.
The demonstration planned Thursday failed to develop. "We had a commute that was safe and without disruption," said BART spokesman Jim Allison.
The demonstrators were protesting the July 3 shooting of Charles Blair Hill by BART police, who claimed Hill came at them with a knife. Several people were arrested when a July 11 demonstration disrupted service during the rush-hour commute and prompted the closing of BART's Civic Center station."
Three cheers to you San francisco!! It's about time someone cracked down on that stupid 1st amendment with a little preemptive action! Well done! That will show those layabout ne'er-do-well jackanapes just exactly who has the authority in your town! Protesting a shooting indeed, I have never heard such shocking disrespect for authority in all my days.
And to plan a demonstration which clearly disregards the "special areas" which you have so graciously set aside for demonstrations so any such demonstrations cannot disrupt even for a moment the orderly and controlled flow of workers to and from their assigned duties. To have a demonstration cause a disruption or inconvenience simply goes against everything that you have been so long trying to ingrain into their minds. Everyone knows that disruption of the planned routine is antithetical to order and control. I mean really, who do these protesters think they are? It's not like San Francisco lays claim to any kind of tradition of free thinking, where do they think they are Haight-Ashbury? Wherever that is.
Well! What other choice could you have possibly made than to shut down everyone's ability to communicate, thus snipping the strings of their anarchistic puppet masters before they could ever make them dance their disruptive, and therefore dangerous dance.
"BART officials were confident the cellphone disruptions were legal. They said in a statement that it's illegal to demonstrate on the platform or aboard the trains, and that it has set aside special areas for demonstrations."
And the proof of it is that there was no such protest. The quick actions of BART have also assured that there were zero lion attacks and bear maulings. Their quick actions of shutting down everyone's ability to communicate has also prevented a repeat of the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, thus preventing us all from the hell of yet another world war which would have no doubt resulted in the deaths of untold millions, possibly even billions of innocents. Thank you San Francisco.
"The demonstration planned Thursday failed to develop. "We had a commute that was safe and without disruption," said BART spokesman Jim Allison."
See, the ends justify the means, just look to San Francisco from now on for order and preemptive action.
I'll shut up now and get back to my pottery.