During Monday’s BART protest in San Francisco, two UC Berkeley alumni were detained by police and released after approximately 30 minutes.
Josh Wolf and Helene Goupil, graduates of the campus’s Graduate School of Journalism, were among a group of approximately 40 protesters detained by the San Francisco Police Department along the wall of the city’s Main Library.
Wolf and Goupil were covering a demonstration, organized by the group Anonymous, against BART’s Aug. 11 decisionto block wireless signals
on several BART platforms in order to disrupt a planned protest.
According to Goupil, she was following protesters as they walked toward city hall when they suddenly shifted and started walking toward her. Goupil said she tried to get out of the protesters’ way by moving toward the Main Library, but police circled the group and told them they were under arrest. Wolf was also in this group, she said.
The encirclement occurred around 8:20 p.m. between Grove and Fulton streets in downtown San Francisco, according to Wolf.
Goupil — who was covering the protest for Mission [email protected], a news outlet run through UC Berkeley — said she told police officers that she was a member of the press but did not have an actual press pass. Goupil said she was detained and sat on the floor near the wall of the library for approximately 30 minutes. According to Goupil and Wolf, the two were eventually released when officers verified them as members of the press.
Albie Esparza, an SFPD spokesperson, said the incident began when a horde of people were blocking Market Street near the Main Library.
When the group of people blocking the street caused a “severe traffic congestion,” SFPD officers gave multiple orders to disperse, Esparza said.
When the group did not scatter following repeated dispersal orders, SFPD officers encircled the group and detained and subsequently arrested about 40 people, Esparza said.
“We wanted to facilitate the First Amendment right to protest, but we also have to do our job to conduct traffic control and prevent motorists from having any flare up with protesters,” Esparza said.
Photos: Top, Josh Wolf, bottom, Helene Goupil