The San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
has confirmed that the organization disrupted cell phone
service inside subway stations during a protest. Transit officials say that they intended to prevent what they called a disruptive protest
planned for August 11. From the release:
Organizers planning to disrupt BART service [...] stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police. A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators. BART temporarily interrupted service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.
The release goes on to say that BART recognizes the individual right to free speech, but does not allow protests in areas that require payment to enter -- including station platforms, and subway cars. Protestors reportedly planned activities in response to the killing of Charles Blair Hill
by the BART police on July 3, after Hill apparently pulled a knife on officers. This came after another fatal shooting of an unarmed man in 2009 by BART officers.
Like other transit systems around the country, BART operates underground nodes to provide cell phone coverage to subway travelers.