Demonstrators fail to disrupt BART

March 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland was once again the focus of protestors. That's where Oscar Grant was shot New Year's Day by a BART officer. Thursday's demonstration didn't amount to much, but the on-going unrest is costing BART and businesses money.

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Organizers had high hopes, but even they seemed to know right away this protest wasn't going to live up to its hype.

"We're a small group, but we're making a difference," said a protest organizer with a bullhorn.

The group of about 50 people still blocked the fare gates during rush hour at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland. They had threatened to shut it down, but it just didn't happen. BART officials simply rerouted passengers through a back door.

"I just came from Hayward. I didn't have no problems on the Bart whatsoever," said Michael Darenburg, from Oakland.

Still, when organizers talk a big game leading up to a protest, it makes it tough on everyone to plan.

"We had a lot of people coming in to warn us," said Lauren Tran.

Lauren and Michael Tran couldn't escape the buzz. Fellow business owners, property management and security officers were telling them to close their beignet shop, which is located in the Fruitvale Village.

"They would come in and say 'You've got to get away for this one this is going to be a really big bad one,'" said Lauren.

Some businesses did decide to shut down early and police were certainly prepared for a big one.

"It does cost BART money to handle these protests, certainly," said BART Spokesperson Linton Johnson.

BART did lose some money since passengers were steered around the fair gates, but nothing disruptive happened. The Trans didn't even have to shut down their store.

"Everything is quiet and calm. Everybody's drinking and having coffee. It just seems like a non-event," said Lauren.

Still, organizers called it a success.

"As long as there's sincerity and emotion in the crowd, we're happy," said Evan Shamar, a protest organizer.

The protest did not discourage these activists, they're already planning the next one they're hoping to shut down the Rockridge BART Station on March 19th at 4:00 p.m. in Oakland.

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