Protesters claim victory as mobile phone service remain unblocked even as Anonymous launches OpBART
The protest in San Fransisco organised by online hacktivist group Anonymous against alleged police brutality and censorship passed peacefully on Monday.
Protesters claimed victory as the mobile phone service was not blocked in the station during the protests.
According to a Reuters report, a few dozen people turned out on Monday to take part in the protest. They were greatly outnumbered by media persons gathered to cover the event.
Earlier, it was revealed that Anonymous had attacked a related website — mybart.org — of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in retaliation for the San Fransisco subway’s decision to block mobile phone to check a planned protest over a fatal shooting.
Hackers — infamous for their attacks against Visa, Mastercard, Sony and The Sun — stole and posted the names of over 50,000 email subscribers of a BART website. Anonymous also posted the names, street addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of the subscribers.
After the hack, Anonymous had said online that BART made a "conscious decision of ordering various cell phone companies to terminate services for the downtown area inhibiting those in the area from using cell phones — even in the case of an emergency."
"Anonymous will attempt to show those engaging in the censorship what it feels like to be silenced," said the group.
Later, the hactivist group launched Operation BART against the agency’s alleged censorship of people’s rights.
On a blog, Anonymous told the people of the US, "Today, we’ve seen America come alive. In the Bay Area, we’ve seen people gagged, and once more, Anonymous will attempt to show those engaging in the censorship what it feels like to be silenced. #OpBART is an operation geared toward balance – toward learning.
"You do not censor people because they wish to speak out against the wrongs the wrongful things occurring around them. The Bay Area Rapid Transit has made the conscious decision of ordering various cell phone companies to terminate services for the downtown area inhibiting those in the area from using cell phones – even in the case of an emergency."
The group warned BART that the group would "parallel the actions of censorship that you have chosen to engage in."
Anonymous wrote, "Anonymous demands that this activity revolving around censorship cease and desist and we know you are already planning to do this again."
"We will not issue any more warnings," said the group.
The group also asked people around the world to bombard BART’s server with emails.
The post however received mixed responses. There are people who admire the courage of the group, while others say that the means used in the protest are wrong.
One wrote: "I am one of the people whose information was on the BART website and thanks to you is now on a public site somewhere. Why did you do that? I support Anonymous, so why should you make a victim of me and so many others who support you? We signed on to BART long before any of this happened. Publishing our addresses doesn’t hurt BART, it hurts us."
Another said: "Peaceful protest is one thing. Disrupting BART service so innocent people cannot get home to their families and posting contact information of innocent people is another. There is a right way to protest, and it does not involve negatively affecting the lives of innocent citizens. I do not support the protest because they do not respect me."