More Veterans Joining Occupy Movement In US

Monday, October 31, 2011
By Paul Martin

By KRISTINA WONG
ABCNews.com
Oct. 31, 2011

Since Occupy Wall Street protests have broken out in cities across the U.S. and abroad, support has come from what might seem like an unlikely corner: war veterans.

But two of the highest-profile protesters — each from opposite ends of the country — had served in wars. Last week, the world watched as bleeding, dazed 24-year-old Marine Scott Olsen was carried away by fellow protesters after he was struck in the head by an object apparently fired by an Oakland police officer. And before that, Marine Sgt. Shamar Thomas was captured on video confronting a group of New York police officers he said had been too rough with protesters.

Both Thomas and Olsen have become rallying figures in the Occupy Wall Street movement — not only among civilian protesters but among veterans whose participation in the protests has been growing, according to such veterans-turned-organizers as Paige Jenkins.

“For veterans especially, health care is paramount, yet is always on the table to be cut,” Jenkins said in an interview with ABC News. “Vets in this movement don’t want to fight anymore. We want to make peace and live peaceably. 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 nonvets.

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