BART officials warned of possible station shutdowns and arrests on Monday, ahead of Anonymous' planned OPBart protest.
An estimated 1000 Anonymous members are expected to protest outside of the Civic Center station and BART officials have already warned riders that delays and station shutdowns could occur.
BART may need to close some stations temporarily or make other service adjustments on short notice, the agency wrote on its Web site. BART stated that protesters may attempt to disrupt BART service during the afternoon commute period on Aug. 22 in downtown San Francisco BART stations.
There was further speculation that arrests could be made during the protests and #takebacktransit began to gain steam as a hashtag and trending topic in certain locations. But supporters of OPBart say that their intentions aren't to shut down stations or cause inconvenience -- but to protest the death of Charles Blair Hill, a homeless man who was shot and killed at the Civic Center station on July 3. Anonymous supporters hope that the BART riders and/or officials that started the hashtag don't incite any violence.
#Takebacktransit please remember why we're doing this, Anonymous supporter CrappyTires tweeted on Monday. We're not hear (sic) to disturb you, we're here to remember those murdered by #bart.
Crappy Tires also tweeted, Dear sfbart do not shut down transit tonight, we are protesting outside, no need to disturb or harm your riders. We want them to get home.
Last Monday evening, Anonymous members' protests led BART to shut down four of its stations, inconveniencing commuters trying to get home after work. This came after a French Anonymous member, identified as Lamaline_5mg, hacked BART's database and leaked BART officials' personal information, including home addresses and phone numbers.
The move wasn't universally accepted by Anonymous members, as some in the group begin to push more for the protests and human rights interests for the group versus the hacking that gained it international notoriety.
I've stopped participating in that one because of how much attention it's getting for the hacks that aren't part of the Operation, Michela Marsh, an Anonymous supporter said.
One of the issues that Marsh and others have complained about is BART's attempt to spin the first protest into a battle over cell phone service -- which was a factor -- but the bigger issue was Hill's murder. Anonymous' hope is that Monday's protest will finally get to the root of the actual issue.
I think this second protest won't be labeled as a bunch of privileged kids whining about their cell phones being cut off, Marsh said. We think more people will be willing to participate now that they've seen that Anonymous isn't a bunch of reckless thugs wreaking havoc.