“Does it usually take this long for the protesters to arrive?” an eager young woman — wearing a purple bandanna and carrying a cardboard sign — asked onlookers Monday, as a collection of police, print, television and online media, gawkers, and would-be agitators waited for “hacktivist” group Anonymous’s 5 p.m. protest and demonstration to materialize at San Francisco’s UN Plaza above the Civic Center BART station.
It does not, usually, as media vehicles — there were 11 vans present — outnumbered demonstrators for most of the evening, with the congregation never numbering more than two dozen before those assembled melted away into the warm Labor Day evening sun.
Anonymous, a loosely-organized and affiliated collective of hackers and activists, has promised to host demonstrations at BART’s Civic Center station every Monday until the transit agency acquiesces to a series of demands, including the disarmament of the BART police force.
A second protest group, No Justice No BART, has held demonstrations since BART police shot and killed 45-year old Charles Hill, a transient, at the Civic Center station on July 3. The group was founded after the Jan. 1, 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant in Oakland.
Anonymous has been involved since Aug. 11, when BART shut down cell phone signals in its stations in order to thwart a No Justice No BART protest that never happened.
On Monday, only two protestors arrived wearing Anonymous’s signature Guy Fawkes masks, the iconic visage of the onetime English revolutionary made famous by the “V for Vendetta” graphic novel and feature film.
One, a pinstripe-suited gentleman who wore a placard marked “Pre$$” tucked into the headband of his fedora, took photos and videos of those present — including the three “Naked Guys” — before cycling off into the evening, issuing ominous warnings (lines from the movie) into his megaphone:
“We are legion. We do not forget.”