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article imageProtest over Ferguson violence halts Bay Area transit service

By Nathan Salant     Nov 29, 2014 in Travel
Oakland - Dozens of San Francisco Bay Area residents tied up regional transit service for more than an hour Friday with a peaceful protest that closed a major station serving transbay commuters.
More than a dozen protesters chained themselves to waiting trains and to the platform at BART's West Oakland station as they chanted slogans blaming racism for Monday's decision by Missouri prosecutors not to prosecute a police officer accused of killing an unarmed black youth.
“When black lives matter, the inconvenience won’t be here,” said one of the demonstrators, Jumoke Hodge, a member of the Oakland school board.
Authorities moved in after nearly two hours and began cutting protesters free with metal saws and arresting them.
Fourteen protesters from inside the station were taken into custody, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Meanwhile, more than 150 demonstrated outside the BART station, expressing outrage at the decision not to prosecute a white Ferguson, Miss., police officer for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager on Aug. 9.
The shooting under somewhat unclear circumstances and the subsequent behavior of local and state authorities in Ferguson has led to months of protests and other unrest in the suburb of St. Louis and in cities around the country.
In Oakland, the temporary interruption of BART service stranded thousands of riders and interrupted commutes to work, shopping and sightseeing.
BART, Bay Area Rapid Transit, is the regional train system linking San Francisco and Oakland with two dozen other Bay Area cities.
All three BART lines that serve San Francisco stop at the elevated West Oakland station.
“We’re not here to destroy or harm, that’s not what this is about,” outside protester Kharyshi Wiginton told the Chronicle.
"The war on black people is very real, It’s not made up," she said. "It’s not on some black people, It’s on all black people.”
Similar protests also took place Friday around the Bay Area, including in downtown Oakland and San Francisco, the newspaper said.
Demonstrators rallied in San Francisco's Union Square during that city's annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony and were joined by protesters who marched from the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street shouting "Ferguson is everywhere" and "Justice for Michael Brown."
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