Mood turns ugly over 'Occupy' protest injury
Published 29/10/2011 | 05:00
A man lies in the street, blood dripping from a serious head wound. As demonstrators rush to his aid, police officers standing only yards away casually toss a tear gas canister in their direction. It explodes, within inches of his head. Then there's a scream: "Medic!"
The man was Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old member of the Occupy movement, and the location was Oakland, where police were making a heavy-handed attempt to clear protesters from the streets.
Yesterday, Mr Olsen was in the Californian city's Highland General hospital, where doctors have upgraded his condition from "critical" to "fair".
Videos of the chaotic moments when the life-threatening injuries occurred were flooding the internet, turning Mr Olsen into a hero of a movement which has so far lacked figureheads.
In Oakland, a thousand people attended a candlelit vigil, while the city's mayor, Jean Quan, visited him in hospital and apologised for the incident.
Olsen himself, meanwhile, is becoming a gift from the PR gods.
While right-wing figures have derided the 'Occupy' protesters as "un-American", it has emerged Mr Olsen is a former US marine who served with distinction in Iraq. And to conservative critics who style the demonstrators as jobless layabouts, Mr Olsen's supporters have the perfect riposte: he works for a successful San Francisco software company. (© Independent News Services)