Outrage Over Veteran Injured at ‘Occupy’ Protest
By JESSE McKINLEY and MALIA WOLLAN
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
“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.”
Friends of Mr. Olsen — who worked in computer systems at a Bay Area technology company — said that he had eagerly joined the Occupy movement, heading to the San Francisco camp after work and sleeping on the streets in solidarity with the campers there. He was in
“He was loving it,” said Jason Matherne, a fellow
Video of Mr. Olsen, lying bleeding and stunned, has been shown on the Internet and on television news reports, though what exactly hit him remained unclear. But Joshua Shepherd, 27, another veteran, said there had been a “barrage of police tear gas canisters flying everywhere.”
“I did not know Scott had been hit,” Mr. Shepherd said. “People dragged him away.”
Since the skirmish, which resulted in more than 100 arrests, several liberal groups — including Amnesty International — have condemned the use of tear gas as well as the actions of Mayor Jean Quan of
Some 3,000 people gathered peaceably on Wednesday night, debating the merits of calling a general strike in
Outside City Hall on Thursday, meanwhile, several tents had once again sprung up on the contested campground, after protesters removed a police barricade the night before. Nearby, a makeshift tribute to Mr. Olsen had been built around a flagpole, with the words “Pray 4 Scott” chalked onto the pavement.
A handful of protesters also stood guard, including Joann Herr, 60, of
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs