Purple Lotus Society, Oakland
Sometimes it is the small incidents that stand for the whole – like Bull Connor turning the water cannons and setting the police dogs to attack civil rights protestors in Birmingham. Not that Scott Olsen’s injuries are small, or that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan handled the aftermath correctly,1 but rather this was less than two minutes of the international OWS protest. A potent symbol, in other words, one that expands upon the NYPD pepper spray incident with Tony Bolgna, et al.
OAKLAND, Calif. — For supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, whose diffuse anger has been a defining and sometimes distracting characteristic, the wounding of an Iraq war veteran here has provided a powerful central rallying point. Multimedia
The veteran, Scott Olsen, 24, was critically injured on Tuesday night when he was hit in the head with a projectile thrown or shot by law enforcement officers combating protesters trying to re-enter a downtown plaza that had been cleared of an encampment earlier in the day. Mr. Olsen, who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine, suffered a fractured skull.
And while Mr. Olsen’s condition has since improved, his injury — and the oddity of a Marine who faced enemy fire only to be attacked at home — has prompted an outpouring of sympathy, as well as calls for solidarity among the scores of Occupy encampments around the nation. On Thursday night, camps in several major cities — including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia — were expected to participate in a vigil for Mr. Olsen, according to Iraq Veterans Against the War, of which he is a member.
“I think people would have been outraged even had this been a civilian,” said Jose Vasquez, the group’s executive director, “but the fact that he survived two tours of duty and then to have this happen to him, people are really upset about that.”
(click here to continue reading Outrage Grows Over Scott Olsen, Veteran Wounded at Occupy Oakland Protest – NYTimes.com.)
and the backstory, if you hadn’t heard about it already:
An Iraq war veteran has a fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile.
Scott Olsen is in a “critical condition” in Highland hospital in Oakland, a hospital spokesman confirmed.
Olsen, 24, suffered the head injury during protests in Oakland on Tuesday evening. More than 15 people were arrested after a crowd gathered to demonstrate against the police operation to clear two Occupy Oakland camps in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Jay Finneburgh, a photographer who was covering the protest, published pictures of Olsen lying on the ground.
“This poor guy was right behind me when he was hit in the head with a police projectile. He went down hard and did not get up,” Finneburgh wrote.
Olsen was taken to Highland by fellow protesters.
(click here to continue reading Occupy Oakland: Iraq war veteran in critical condition after police clashes | World news | guardian.co.uk.)
And he’ll hopefully recover full faculties, though that’s uncertain still:
Scott Olsen requires surgery to relive the pressure on his brain, according to his roommate Keith Shannon.
“Neurosurgeons have decided he needs surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain and it will happen in a day or two,” Shannon said.
He added that Olsen’s parents should be arriving at the hospital to be with their son shortly.
Earlier on Thursday a spokesman for Highland hospital confirmed that Olsen’s condition had improved to “fair” from “critical”. It is understood he is in intensive care. Highland hospital could not be immediately reached for confirmation that Olsen would undergo surgery.
(click here to continue reading Occupy Oakland – police under scrutiny Thursday 27 October | World news | guardian.co.uk.)
- she should resign [↩]