[Representational image] | Picture credit: Creative Commons

[Representational image] | Picture credit: Creative Commons

Commuters of San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in the US are staging a unique form of protest.

They have taken to eating sandwiches on BART property. This came days after a policeman was caught on camera handcuffing — and apparently arresting — a man who was eating a sandwich.

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BART authorities have clarified that the man being handcuffed was not arrested but given only a citation.

They also said on Twitter that the matter was being looked into further. However, this has not stopped protesters from eating on BART property.

A screenshot from the picture shows Steve Foster being stopped by a BART police officer.

What happened?

Steve Foster, was reportedly stopped on Monday, November 4, by a police officer for apparently eating on BART property.

The 57-second video shot of him with the BART police officer shows the officer holding on to Foster’s bag.

The officer is heard in the video first trying to say that Foster was in violation of California law. As Foster protests, the officer is then heard accusing him of resisting arrest.

While the video ends before Foster is handcuffed, the officer is clearly heard saying initially that he is detained, before Foster is accused of resisting arrest.

According to ABC7 News, Foster said the officer singled him out, having walked past several others eating sandwiches.

Watch the video here:

What does BART say?

Apparently, according to California law, eating and drinking is prohibited in the paid sections of BART.

This means there can be no eating or drinking between entering the turnstiles of a platform and exiting the destination platform.

Therefore, some may argue that the police officer was only following the law. However, that did not stop people from taking to social media to ask BART authorities about the incident.

It was then that the authorities clarified on Twitter that Foster was only given a citation and not arrested.

So how come he was handcuffed? BART clarified on Twitter: “We asked police why he was handcuffed and was told the individual was refusing to provide his name which is needed for citation and was lawfully handcuffed. [sic]”

See the tweets here:

https://twitter.com/SFBART/status/1192895878782021632

The protests

The explanations, provided on Saturday, November 9, however did not stop people from protesting against the incident.

ABC7 News said in a fresh report that very day that people were taking to eating on BART property in solidarity with Foster.

“There was a defiant lunchtime eat-in on the platform inside the Embarcardero BART station, where eating isn’t allowed,” said the report.

“About 30 people gathered for lunch” at the Pleasant Hill BART station to protest against the incident, the report added. Foster apparently now has support from within BART itself.

The ABC7 News report quoted BART’s Board of Directors member Janice Li as saying: “I realise some things are illegal with our penal code, but I want to be mindful of how we’re using resources to enforce our system.”

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