Protests are underway this morning in Oakland and at BART's Montgomery Street station, affecting rapid transit service and also leading to jam-packed traffic on freeways heading into San Francisco.
The protests started at 7 a.m. on the Montgomery BART platform. Billed as the first in a weekend-long series of direct action events culminating in a march in Oakland on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the protesters are calling for "No Business As Usual" at BART.
The protesters released demands ahead of the demonstrations, including for BART to drop all charges against the "Black Friday 14," a group
of 14 activists who were arrested for chaining themselves to a BART train at the West Oakland station on Nov. 28.
Those protests were part of a series protesting police killings of unarmed black men sparked by grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and
New York to not indict white police officers who killed unarmed black men Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Protesters have said the Alameda County District Attorney's Office is seeking as much as $70,000 in restitution for the action, but BART officials have said they are looking into community service options in lieu of restitution.
The protesters are also calling for the disbandment of the BART police and fare discounts for low-income residents.
Organizers asked those attending to bring metal spoons but have not disclosed what purpose the spoon serves.
BART's statement indicates the transit agency will facilitate demonstrations at the BART station, but "if protesters choose potentially dangerous actions that cause major service disruptions, BART police are prepared to enforce the law and ensure public safety."
BART is recommending that commuters keep potential disruptions in mind Friday morning.
The weekend of protests is scheduled to culminate in another action at a BART station on Monday, an 11 a.m. march starting at the Fruitvale station in Oakland, where Oscar Grant III was shot and killed by a BART police officer on Jan. 1, 2009.
There will be numerous actions throughout the weekend, according to organizers.