Support for Occupy movements increases among veterans

As of Nov. 1, Oakland police are going under investigation by the Citizens’ Police Review Board regarding the police projectile that fractured the skull of Iraq veteran Scott Olsen during a peaceful protest in Oakland on Oct. 25, according to The Guardian.

Initially after the event it was announced that there would not be an investigation of the questionable tactics of the Oakland police, causing a substantial disappointment and disapproval among the protestors.

Coupled with Occupy movement stories are presumed police brutality claims. From protesting women being pepper-sprayed in New York to a woman being pinned between two mounted police horses in Portland, there is a speculated trend of over-aggressive force plaguing protestors. Veteran Scott Olsen’s experience in Oakland has led veterans across America to voice their support of the occupation movements by offering empirical knowledge and practical advice to civilian protestors.

Paige Jenkins, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and California National Guard currently studying military social work at USC, said veterans should act as “peacekeepers” and offer advice to protestors on survival and self-defense techniques. Another group, Occupy Marine, supplied protestors with materials to aid them through the winter season.

Groups like Occupy Marine, Veterans for Peace and Veterans for Common Sense support the movements taking place around the country and condemn the police brutality. In addition, they believe cuts in government assistance programs could severely impact the lives of veterans returning in 2012 who will need jobs and benefits upon arrival.

“We shouldn’t have to fight for our benefits, and if vets are fighting for their benefits then it can’t be any better for non-vets,” said Jenkins.