Image: Scott Olsen injured by a tear gas canister
Kimihiro Hoshino  /  AFP - Getty Images
The Occupy Oakland protesters carry away Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen after he was hit by a tear gas canister shot by the police projectile on Tuesday in California.
By
updated 10/26/2011 8:07:55 PM ET 2011-10-27T00:07:55

The clash between Oakland police and Occupy Wall Street protesters left a Marine veteran who completed two Iraq tours in critical condition Wednesday after he was struck by a police projectile, a veterans' group said.

Scott Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull Tuesday as he marched with other protesters toward City Hall, said Dottie Guy, of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. The demonstrators had been making an attempt to re-establish a presence in the area of a disbanded protesters' camp when they were met by police officers in riot gear.

Story: Atlanta police arrest around 50 anti-Wall Street protesters

Several small skirmishes broke out and officers cleared the area by firing tear gas.

It's not known exactly what type of object struck Olsen, currently a systems network administrator in Daly City, or whether he'll need surgery, Guy said.

"It's still too early to tell," Guy said. "We're hoping for the best."

Curt Olsen, a spokesman for Highland Hospital in Oakland, confirmed that the veteran was in critical condition but could not release any more information.

The clash Tuesday came as officials complained about what they described as deteriorating safety, sanitation and health issues at the dismantled camp.

Olsen, who completed his service last year, participated in the protest because he felt corporations and banks have too much influence on the government, Guy said.

Story: Income of top 1 percent far outgrew others: report

A vigil for him is scheduled to be held Wednesday evening near the Oakland City Hall, she said. Multiple attempts to reach Oakland police Wednesday by The Associated Press were unsuccessful.

'Actions by police were wrong'
Meanwhile, Oakland demonstrators vowed on Wednesday to return to their protest site just hours after police — who were met as they moved in by pelted rocks, bottles and utensils — cleared hundreds of people from the streets with tear gas and bean bag rounds.

Darryl Bush  /  AP
Occupy Wall Street protesters run from tear gas deployed by police at 14th Street and Broadway in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday.

A Twitter feed used by Oakland's Occupy Wall Street movement called on protesters to return to downtown at 6 p.m. for another round, and some demonstrators vowed to return as soon as possible.

Max Alper, 31, a union organizer from Berkeley, gathered with a handful of other protesters Wednesday at the scene of Tuesday night's clash.

"As soon as these barricades are moved, hundreds of people are going to come back. These actions by police were wrong, but they're just going to strengthen the movement," Alper said.

Alper was arrested Tuesday morning when he went to witness the police raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall, he said. He said his arm was injured when baton-swinging police descended on him and other protesters.

Feeding the movement: How Occupy protesters are eating

Police estimated that there were roughly 1,000 demonstrators at the first clash following the march.

City officials say that two officers were injured. At least five protesters were arrested and several others injured in the evening clashes.

Associated Press reporters Jason Dearen and Marcus Wohlsen contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Quiet in Oakland after police, ‘Occupy’ protesters clash

  1. Transcript of: Quiet in Oakland after police, ‘Occupy’ protesters clash

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: As we just heard here again tonight, student debt is one of the big concerns of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement. And is Oakland , California , 85 people were arrested yesterday morning when police evicted them. Some were complaining about what they said were heavy-handed tactics used by police who used tear gas and fired bean bag rounds into the crowd during the predawn raid. Later in the day, things got even worse. Our own Miguel Almaguer is standing by in Oakland for us tonight. Miguel , good evening.

    MIGUEL ALMAGUER reporting: Brian , good evening. Oakland is relatively quiet tonight, so far. This plaza has been home to demonstrators who have been protesting against corporate greed and other issues for the two weeks, but last night that protest came to an end after a clash between police and demonstrators. Mayhem, violence and blood spilled onto Oakland streets. Occupy Oakland protesters and police faced off for six hours. This after an early morning raid by hundreds of police officers forced nearly 300 demonstrators from their Occupy Oakland camp.

    Unidentified Man: What this is is a gathering of working people trying to reverse a situation that has occurred that has kicked them out of their homes.

    ALMAGUER: Tear gas was volleyed into the air.

    Unidentified Woman: They just started shooting off. And then after -- even the fact that everybody left, they kept shooting.

    ALMAGUER: As police say rocks, bottles, even small explosives were thrown at them. More than 100 were arrested as the late-night crowd swelled to nearly a thousand.

    Mr. HOWARD JORDAN (Oakland police Department Chief): The decision to move was based on public health and safety due to defecation, fire hazards, sexual assault incidents, violent behavior and a denial of access of medical aid.

    ALMAGUER: Oakland wasn't the only city trying to move out protesters. Across the country in Atlanta ...

    Group of People: Occupy Atlanta!

    ALMAGUER: ...police in riot gear arrested 50 overnight. In Denver , occupiers were digging in. Even snow and the threat of hypothermia didn't deter demonstrators there. But overseas in London , one newspaper investigation claims protesters often go home at night. Thermal images on the Daily Mail 's website show most of these tents in purple appear to be empty. Back in this country, the occupy protests have cost cities money and resources. In Los Angeles , the mayor says the bill so far is $60,000. And tonight there seems to be no end to the protests in sight. As a matter of fact, here in Oakland in just few hours, protesters say they plan to, quote, "Reclaim and retake this plaza." Police say they'll be ready to square off. As a matter of fact, in San Francisco , Brian , crowds are also expected to show up in the plaza center across the bay.

    WILLIAMS: Miguel Almaguer in the Bay Area of California for us tonight. Miguel , thanks.

Data: Occupy Wall Street

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