As recently reported on CLUTCH, Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull and swelling of the brain when law enforcement agencies used excessive force to disband the Occupy Oakland protest on Tuesday night. Believed to have been struck in the head by a tear gas canister fired by police, the 24 year old vet is reportedly awake and lucid, and been upgraded from critical to fair condition on Thursday evening.
“Brutal and vicious” is term used by one Occupy Oakland protester who vowed the organizers would stage a general strike in reaction to not only Olsen’s injury, but treatment of all law abiding protesters. Olsen’s grievous wound has also sparked a response from Occupy protesters nationwide, who’ve carried out various efforts in honor of the wounded U.S. Marine.
Revisiting the site where Olsen went down, several hundred supporters turned out for a candlelight vigil in honor of the soldier Thursday night. Fellow activists from Iraq War Veterans for Peace addressed the crowd, one receiving a roar of applause upon suggesting the firing of the current Oakland police chief or Mayor Jean Quan behind this potentially fatal incident.
In the process of recovery, Highland General Hospital spokesman Warren Lyons said Olsen “responded with a very large smile” to a visit from his parents. “He’s able to understand what’s going on. He’s able to write and hear, but has a little difficulty with his speech,” Lyons said.
Lyons added that doctors had not operated on Olsen yet, as they wait to see if the brain swelling had decreased. Olsen’s aunt, Kathy Pacconi, told Reuters in an email that her nephew was showing signs of improvement. “I believe he knew his mom and dad were there, and tomorrow he’ll be really happy to see his sister, Melissa, because they are really close. Hopefully, he’ll start to improve with her visit,” Pacconi said.
Occupy Oakland organizers said their strike, which intends to shut down the city, is scheduled to begin next Wednesday, November 2.