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Monday, July 16, 2012

Protesters Block Muni, Commuting Chaos Has Begun (Updated)

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 5:15 PM

  • Suzanne Stathatos

Update (5 p.m.): The much -anticipated rally is finally happening. About 15 demonstrators have gathered at the Third Street Muni stop, where they are listening to music and rapping in between a few speeches. It seems rather tame, from what we can tell. Paul Rose, spokesman for Muni, says all trains are moving through Third Street with no problems or delays.

Update (1:28 p.m.): Spokesman Rose tells us that the agency is turning trains around at Third and Evans streets, and instead running shuttles from Third and Marin to Bayshore Boulevard and Sunnydale. "This is in anticipation of potential large crowds expected," Rose says. Protesters are planning to rally at the Third Street location sometime between now and 5 p.m.

Update (12:55 p.m.): Either protesters have gotten tired, or this is the calm before the storm. Muni officials say trains are back on track and on time. What's more, there's no signs of protesters anywhere. Demonstrators had talked about holding a noon rally at Third and Palou in the Bayview, but when SF Weekly went out there, it was rather quiet. Of course, the day is young.

Update (9:45 a.m.) Muni officials report heavy congestion along transit lines. Crews are working hard to make this Monday less hellish for passengers.

Update (9 a.m.): Protesters are now standing in front of the Muni headquarters. Nothing is disrupted as of now, except for Muni employees trying to get in and and out of the building.

Update (8 a.m.): Protesters have cleared the Church Street station and are now marching to Van Ness Avenue and Market Street. The N and the J lines are back on track for now; however, expect delays in both directions, says Rose. Protesters are also blocking the 101 offramp at Octavia and Market.

Original story (7:40 a.m.) As promised, protesters have reportedly blocked Muni trains, creating what is probably going to be the start of a nightmarish Monday commute.

According to the SFMTA, protesters blocked the N and J lines at Church and Duboce around 7 a.m. The transit agency is sending in shuttles to assist the unfortunate commuters who are stranded.

Here's some other advice from Muni for those of you who don't feel like waiting for shuttles:

SF Appeal is reporting that more protesters are on their way, with big plans to shut down trains in the Mission and Financial districts. The protests are being organized to mark the first anniversary of the shooting death of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding, who was chased down by police after not paying his Muni fare in the Bayview.

Marco Scott, Harding's uncle, tells the Appeal that today's action is meant to be a peaceful protest against police brutality. Although some might say that creating a transit meltdown is hardly peaceful.

"We want to honor [Harding] and our other fallen children that have been killed by police brutality -- we're here to make a statement," Scott tells the Appeal.

Live video from your iPhone using UstreamHe also said protesters will convene at Third and Palou streets around noon for a memorial for Harding.

We put in a call to Muni officials. No word back yet, as we are sure they are scrambling to prepare for what's to come.

We'll keep you posted on transit problems and protests. Check back for updates. 

Follow us on Twitter at @SFWeekly and @TheSnitchSF

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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