OWS protesters thrilled and chilled
The Iraqi war veteran Scott Olsen, who was critically injured by police during an Occupy Oakland demonstration, is making minor improvements. Doctors have upgraded his condition to fair, although he remains in intensive care.
Keith Shannon, Olsen’s roommate who also served with him in Iraq, said he had visited his friend in hospital and that he “seems to be doing well” and that doctors expect him to make a full recovery.
Police are investigating how Olsen was injured amid nationwide rallies in support of the injured veteran.
It appears that Olsen’s injury by a police projectile has garnered even more sympathy and support for the movement that began in New York and escalated into a global protest against corporate crime and government complicity.
People across America are showing their support for the movement by sending protesters in Zuccotti Park thousands of letters and parcels containing warm clothes. As of last week, protesters had received some 2,000 letters, the Associated Press reported.
The camp in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan was hit by snow, heavy rains and winds blowing up to 60 miles per hour. Hundreds of protesters have braved the freezing temperatures huddled inside their own tents or under tarps that were erected over a part of the park.
On Friday, New York City’s firefighters seized at least six generators and dozens of cans of gas from the Occupy activists. Protesters had brought the generators to the park to protect themselves from anticipated cold weather.
City officials say the generators violate the fire safety code and are a hazard. Activists are threatening to take legal action if the generators – their property – are not returned.
The protesters, who have vowed to remain in Lower Manhattan throughout the winter, are accusing NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg of attempting to end the occupation by creating a public health risk.
Christina Tobin, founder of the US-based Free and Equal Elections Foundation, says the demonstrations are the "beginning of a bigger movement.”
“There are anti-union protests, there are anti-corporatists protests, and what we really need to have is anti-politicians protests here in the United States," she declared.
She says "people in office" are the real problem for the US.
“Once we address that issue and we kick them all out of office, people will see more of the origins of the Constitution, which I feel is what taxpayers really want," she added.
Meanwhile, in Denver over the weekend, police moved into an Occupy encampment arresting demonstrators who had allegedly ignored orders to leave.
The arrests came hours after a standoff between activists and the authorities near the steps of the Colorado Capitol. The clash resulted in police reportedly using pepper spray and rubber bullets against protesters. Twenty people were arrested in what is being described as an ongoing police crackdown against “the American uprising,” RT’s Marina Portnaya reported.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, has voiced concerns over the crackdown and the treatment of protesters by the US authorities. He accused the “counterparts from Western countries” of “double standards.”
"The way the Occupy Wall Street protesters are handled is an ample illustration of double standards that quite a number of our counterparts from Western countries are pursuing.We will never put up with a situation when our Western partners, who reserve the right to ask us questions, refuse to discuss their own problems, which there are aplenty and which keep growing,” Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow.