Occupy Wall Street Movement News Update of the Day: 24-year-old Iraq vet Scott Olsen, who has become “a figurehead of the Occupy Wall Street movement” since being hit in the head by an as-yet-unidentified police projectile, is awake and alert after being unconscious for 12 hours.
According to Highland General hospital spokesman Warren Lyons, Olsen is “able to write and hear but has a little difficulty with his speech.” Doctors will likely perform brain surgery to reduce swelling, but are holding off for the time being to see if it eases on its own.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who reportedly met with Olsen, released a statement earlier today expressing support for the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and announcing a reduction in police presence at the plaza where Occupy Oakland protesters congregate.
Interim police chief Howard Jordan promised a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, telling reporters “It’s unfortunate it happened. I wish that it didn’t happen.”
Around the country vigils were held for Olsen, who is a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. “I think people would have been outraged even had this been a civilian,” said the group’s executive director Jose Vasquez, “but the fact that he survived two tours of duty and then to have this happen to him, people are really upset about that.”
The Obama administration has released no official statement on the matter, except to say that the Justice Department is not investigating potential abuse of power on the part of the Oakland PD. An Anonymous member has taken matters into his own hands, offering $1,000 for the name of the officer directly responsible for injuring Olsen.
Both Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace have started funds to help Olsen and his family members cover their medical expenses.
The Occupy Oakland General Assembly, in front of whom Quan is expected to speak tonight (livestream here), passed a proposal last night calling for a city-wide strike to commence next Wednesday, November 2nd.
— San Francisco police called off their late-night raid on Justin Herman Plaza, where Occupy SF protesters have set up camp. Police spokesman Carlos Manfredi said his department was concerned that Occupy Oakland protesters would join their San Francisco counterparts in an effort to thwart the raid.
Mayor Ed Lee appeared to have reversed course on the threat to remove protesters, saying officials would be “dialoguing” with demonstrators.
— In New York, Occupy Wall Street protesters marched through downtown Manhattan in solidarity with sister protest, Occupy Oakland. Police intercepted some 400 protesters walking toward City Hall, causing the march to about face toward Union Square.
After running into a police barricade, organizers attempted to call the whole thing off, but some demonstrators decided to force their way through the line of cops. The police officers pushed back, but were ultimately unable to prevent protesters from reaching Union Square.
10 people were arrested before the crowd eventually made its way back to Zuccotti Park.
— Across the pond, Rev Dr Giles Fraser has resigned his post as canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral over the decision to seek the protesters’ eviction. “I resigned because I believe that the chapter has set on a course of action that could mean there will be violence in the name of the church,” Dr. Fraser said in a prepared statement.
Further Reading: Occupy Wall Street surpassed the Tea Party in online search interest on September 24th, and has remained higher ever since; a New York couple has filed an application to trademark “Occupy Wall St”; Occupy Portland is throwing a “Cuddle Party” this Saturday.