Business, Finance & Economics

Occupy protesters hold vigil for Iraq veteran hurt in Oakland (VIDEO)


A photograph sits on a memorial for Scott Olsen, an Iraq veteran who was severely injured during a standoff between Occupy Oakland and Oakland police, near the Occupy Oakland encampment on October 27, 2011 in Oakland, California.


Justin Sullivan

Occupy Wall Street protesters in in Oakland held a vigil Thursday for an Iraq war veteran seriously hurt in a confrontation with the police in Oakland, California.

Scott Olsen, 24, a former Marine, suffered a skull fracture Tuesday night when he allegedly was struck by a tear gas canister at an Occupy Oakland protest. He has since "become a rallying point for the Occupy Wall Street movement nationwide," according to Reuters.

Olsen's condition has been upgraded to fair, The Associated Press reports. 

The AP quotes Dr. Alden Harken, chief surgeon at Alameda County Medical Center, as saying that Olsen "was interacting with his parents, doing math equations and otherwise showing signs of 'high-level cognitive functioning.'"

Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan has promised an investigation into whether officers used excessive force during the second confrontation. He has also addressed Olsen's condition, saying one focus of the review would be determining how the veteran was hurt.

At least 1,000 people gathered in Oakland and many held lit candles for Olsen on Thursday.

Occupy Oakland organizers have called for a general strike next week in order to shut down the city and protest the "brutal and vicious" treatment of protesters.

"We mean nobody goes to work, nobody goes to school — we shut the city down," Reuters quotes organizer Cat Brooks as saying. "The only thing they seem to care about is money, and they don't understand that it's our money they need. We don't need them; they need us."

In New York, Occupy Wall Street protesters camped in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan were facing the prospect of snowfalls Saturday.