24jähriger US-Iran Veteran im Koma: US-Polizei schoß in seinen Kopf, als sie das Occupy-Camp in Oakland unterdrückten – Solidaritätsmarsch von Occupy New York für Scott Olson
New York marches in solidarity with Occupy Oakland
The Occupy demonstration in New York wound its way through Lower Manhattan over the course of approximately two hours
„This is for Scott Olsen,“ said Sergeant Shamar Thomas, as he marched on Wednesday night in honour of his fellow Marine.
Both men are Iraq war veterans, but unlike Thomas, Olsen was lying in a California hospital bed – some 3,000 miles away from New York City. He’d suffered a fractured skull and a swelling brain after police shot „non-lethal“ projectiles into an Oakland crowd the night before. Given the severity of his injuries, doctors induced a coma as a medical precaution.
„This is the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life,“ Thomas added, leading the march throughout Lower Manhattan on Wednesday night. „It makes me proud to be an American. It makes me proud to be a veteran.“
Thomas was at the front of an emotional Occupy Wall Street NYC demonstration in solidarity with its bay area counterpart that wound its way through Lower Manhattan over the course of approximately two hours. Propelled by drums and a bagpipe, the march left Zuccotti Park–re-named Liberty Plaza by its occupants–shortly after 9pm and immediately spilled into the streets. With that, the tone was set for the evening – hundreds of protesters repeatedly defied police commands to stay on the sidewalk, sometimes walking against the flow of traffic in parts of SoHo and the West Village.
The NYPD claims to have arrested roughly a dozen people, and while a majority of officers practiced a noticeable degree of restraint, videos depict several confrontations involving heavy-handed police tactics. One appears to show officers repeatedly punching and kicking protesters.
For their part, protesters were more inclined than usual to directly defy the police; roughly 500 surged into the street near City Hall. When the NYPD made its first concerted effort to cut off the march, deploying mesh netting at the intersection of Broadway and Reade Street, the protesters lifted the barrier and pushed through. At one point, demonstrators wrested a section of the orange netting, carrying it off like a trophy for several blocks before stuffing it in a garbage can.
„Oakland is New York City, New York City is Oakland,“ the marchers chanted, as they zigzagged through the streets. At times, the procession moved with no visible police presence. Onlookers leaned out of apartment windows and restaurants to snap photos.
Officers on motorscooters sporadically attempted to obstruct the march, occasionally zooming onto the sidewalk at high speeds. This prompted the protesters to evade the police, running down side streets and making random directional changes to throw off their pursuers. Darting up one narrow road, several protesters pulled a construction barrier into the road. Others joined them by heaving a number of trash bags, all in apparent effort to set up roadblocks. Others, obviously opposed to the move, worked to clear the items.
By 11pm, protesters returned to their home base. There, some demonstrators confronted officers on issues of police brutality, communicating their concerns with varying degrees of polite interest and outright indignation.
When asked how he felt when he heard the news of Olsen’s injuries, a rank-and-file officer – who did not provide his name – said, „It was heartbreaking.“ He stressed that police officers do not want to see people get hurt.
Michael Patterson – a 21 year-old Army veteran from Anchorage, Alaska – argued that the police’s implicit countenance of an unjust system put them on the wrong side of an ongoing struggle. Patterson, who served in Iraq in 2008, said he faced a „moral conundrum“ six months after he returned to the states.
„I started realising I hurt people. Not terrorists, not insurgents. People,“ he said.
„The saying I keep hearing is that police are just doing their jobs,“ Patterson said, „If you’re doing a job but you’re supporting a corrupt system, you’re still doing the wrong f***ing thing.“