Contact: Suzanne Trimel, 212-633-4150, [email protected]
(New York) – Amnesty International urged authorities to ensure that police show restraint in their response to Occupy Wall Street protests, following critical injuries suffered by a man in Oakland, Ca. in clashes between police and demonstrators.
Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull after being hit by a projectile during clashes between police and protestors on Tuesday.
Many others have been arrested and forcibly removed from protest camps as demonstrations intensified across the country.
"The increasingly heavy-handed policing tactics used to quell the Occupy Wall Street protests are deeply alarming," said Guadalupe Marengo, deputy program director for the Americas.
"The police must not resort to using excessive force, such as tear gas, unless strictly necessary."
Olsen was hurt and around 100 others were arrested after tear gas was used to disperse crowds attempting to re-enter a City Hall plaza, which had been cleared of protesters earlier in the day.
Police said tear gas was used after they were pelted with missiles including rocks, bottles and explosives.
The police also denied allegations that dangerous “flash-bang” grenades were fired into the small crowd trying to help Olsen after he was hit.
"Policing large-scale demonstrations is challenging, especially when a crowd is volatile, but police are obliged to ensure injury is minimized rather than inciting further hostility with excessive use of force," said Marengo.
There have been clashes between police and demonstrators in other American cities.
Five protestors were arrested and several were injured in San Francisco after police cleared two camps on Tuesday.
The mayor of Providence, Rhode Island reportedly said he will seek a court order to remove protesters from the city's Burnside Park, occupied since October 15.
In Chicago, 300 protesters have been arrested in recent weeks.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
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For more information, please visit: www.amnestyusa.org.