Transit Agency Criticized for Cutting Cell Phone Service

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August 22, 2011
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Officials at the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), a San Francisco Bay Area train system, drew fire for shutting down cell phone service on all trains and stations in San Francisco for several hours on August 11 to prevent protestors from staging a demonstration.

Critics lambasted BART for violating protestors' First Amendment right to free expression and compared BART to the repressive regime of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who tried to turn off communicaiton channels to end political protests that eventually resulted in his ouster.

BART countered that its actions were necessary to protect passengers' safety.

By shutting down cell phone service, BART officials hoped to avert a demonstration like one that took place on July 11 to protest the shooting by a BART police officer of a Charles Hill, a homeless man.

Demonstrators snarled the evening commute July 11, evading police for hours and shutting down several BART stations, as they protested the shooting death of Charles Hill by a BART police officer last month. 

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/131rw)

Demonstrators snarled the evening commute July 11, evading police for hours and shutting down several BART stations, as they protested the shooting death of Charles Hill by a BART police officer last month. 

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/131rw)

Demonstrators snarled the evening commute July 11, evading police for hours and shutting down several BART stations, as they protested the shooting death of Charles Hill by a BART police officer last month. 

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/131rw)

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