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Update: Iraq War Vet Injured in Occupy Oakland Awaiting Brain Surgery

"He's able to understand what's going on."

Scott Olsen, bleeding from a head wound after being injured during the Occupy Oakland riots Tuesday, is now awaiting surgery.

The Iraq War veteran injured during the police crackdown on the Occupy Oakland riots earlier this week is now awaiting brain surgery, the Guardian reported.

Scott Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling after he was struck by an apparent police projectile Tuesday night. His condition has since been upgraded from "critical" to "fair" and he is now reportedly conscious as he awaits surgery.

A hospital spokesman said Olsen, who served two tours in Iraq, "responded with a very large smile" when his parents came to visit.

"He's able to understand what's going on. He's able to write and hear but has a little difficulty with his speech," the spokesman said.

According to the Guardian, doctors had not operated yet because they were waiting to see whether the swelling in his brain would ease.

Olsen's injuries prompted solidarity marches and vigils at various Occupy protests around the country Thursday, including in New York City at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration.

Oakland police denied using rubber bullets or flashbang grenades to quell demonstrations, though admitted to firing tear gas canisters into the rioting crowd. Protesters claimed police shot rubber bullets and bean bags, and photos of Olsen taken when he was first injured appear to show flashbangs may have been used.

In response to the incident, Occupy Marines -- an organization that sprang up to support the Occupy movement -- issued a formal list of demands Thursday:

OccupyMARINES Have Watched Closely The Response From The OPD, The Mayor, The Governor, And All Others Involved In The Oakland Attack On Peaceful Demonstrators; We Have Observed These Pathetic Cowards Refuse Responsibility For Their Actions That May Very Well Alter The Course Of Our Brother’s Life. Additionally, Many Other Police Departments Nationwide Deploy Similar Riot Tactics Against Demonstrators Honoring The OWS 8, A Peaceful Declaration Of Assembly; We Will Organize Peacefully Against These Departments.

In Response To The Oakland Shooting Of Scott Olsen OccupyMARINES Request The Following:

  • The GOP Cowards Responsible For Influencing This Event Be Brought To Justice. Track Names And Photos Of Each And Email Them To Us
  • Identify The 300 OPD Riot Officers By Name, Photo, And Badge Number With Boots On The Ground Engaging In Illegal Excessive Force Acts Against Peaceful Americans For Prosecution.
  • Identify The Officer Responsible For Harming Scott Olsen By Name And Photo For Prosecution.
  • The Honorable Resignation Of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan And Acting Police Chief Howard Jordan.
  • A Public Apology From California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. For The Unlawful Injury Of Our Brother Scott Olsen.

We Fully Intend To Make An Example, Leaglly And Peacefully, Of The Corwards Associated With Harming An American Veteran. We Will Not Stop Until Our Aforementioned Demands Are Met In Their Entirity.

God Be With Scott Olsen, We Pray A Speedy Recovery For Him And His Mother.

Semper Fidelis Scott Olsen

Keep Pushing Forward America We Support You.

Oakland acting police chief Howard Jordan promised a thorough investigation into Tuesday's events. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who authorized the raid, has since distanced herself from the police, Business Insider reported.

"I only asked the chief to do one thing: to do it when it was the safest for both the police and the demonstrators," Quan said.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Quan visited Olsen in the hospital Thursday, telling him she was sorry for what happened and repeating Jordan's promise of an investigation.

"I wish that it didn't happen," Jordan said. "Our goal, obviously, is not to cause injury to anyone....We regret that this injury happened."

Quan allowed Occupy protesters to set up their encampments again Thursday, after they were cleared out following Tuesday's riots.

One last thing…
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