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Hacker group calls for rush hour protest against San Francisco subway system

(Xinhua)

09:18, August 15, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Hacker group Anonymous on Saturday called for a rush hour protest on Monday against San Francisco's subway system, in retaliation for the city transit agency's move to cut cell phone service to prevent a separate protest on Thursday.

On its website, Anonymous asked people of San Francisco to join the protest at 5 p.m. Monday for a peaceful protest at Civic Center station and protesters will be wearing "blood" stained shirts for remembrance to the shootings by BART police.

The BART stands for the Bay Area Rapid Transit, the subway system in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"Anonymous will attempt to show those engaging in the censorship what it feels like to be silenced," said the group in a press release.

The group also called on people to bombard the BART with black fax, email bombs and phone calls. It also asked protesters to bring video cameras to record "further abuses of power by the police and to legitimize the protest."

On Friday, BART officials said they turned off the electricity to cell phone towers in four stations for three hours on Thursday after they learned that demonstrators planned to use mobile devices to coordinate a protest on train platforms.

Demonstrators have planned to protest the July 3 fatal shooting of Charles Blair Hill by BART police who claimed Hill attempted to throw a knife at them at the Civic Center station.

The protest never materialized on Thursday as one police officer told The San Francisco Examiner that it was an "epic fail."

The transit agency has been under criticism from free speech groups and civil liberties organizations but it noted that the disruptions were legal and were in the interest of public safety.

On July 11, a protest against July 3 shooting disrupted service during the rush-hour commute when protesters tried to physically block trains by jumping on top of them. It prompted the closure of the BART Civic Center station and several arrests were made.

BART spokesman Jim Allison told local media Saturday that the agency is aware of the planned protest on Monday and has not decided whether to shut down the cell phone service again.

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