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Marines furious over police attack on "brother" at Occupy Oakland

Published time: October 27, 2011 17:38
Edited time: October 28, 2011 05:38

Images courtesy of Sgt. Jay C Gentile

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A six-year veteran of the United States Marines has posted a powerful photo of himself on the Internet in which he shows his dissatisfaction with the police raid in Oakland, California that put a fellow vet in critical condition.

­A late-Tuesday crack-down on the Occupy Oakland encampment left Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old Marine that served two tours of Iraq, in the hospital in critical condition after a blunt object made contact with his head, fracturing his skull and leading to swelling of the brain. The projectile is believed to be a non-lethal canister fired by the local police as hundreds of cops swarmed on the Bay Area hub of the Occupy Wall Street movement to attempt to thwart protesters.

One marine, Jay C Gentile, posted a photograph of himself on the popular online site Reddit.com holding an image of his fallen fellow Marine in one hand and a sign in his other reading, “You did this to my brother.”

In the first 13 hours that the post, titled “How I feel, as a United States Marine, about what occurred in Oakland” has been on Reddit, it has garnered over 1,200 comments and has accumulated exponentially more views.

Since the post has gone viral online, the user has added to the site that he is located in South Jersey and has been so moved by response on the Web that he now says he plans to attend Occupy movements across America in the coming days.

“I'm very much for the movement and encourage everybody I know to get involved,” the author published as an addendum to the original posting.

“I see this young man and I picture the men and women that stood beside me during my time in, and the men and women that stand in those places today,” he adds. “I know what he went through to become a Marine, what he ate for breakfast most days and how long he was able to talk to his parents with his $10 phone card in a shack in Iraq. He is my brother and, unfortunately, I cannot put the reasoning into words.”

Following Tuesday’s assault on Olsen, Occupy Oakland protesters held a General Assembly on Wednesday and came to an overwhelming consensus to launch a general strike throughout the Bay Area city next week on November 2. Even after multiple raids by the police, thousands of demonstrators continue to wage protests, met with support from other Occupy Wall Street-offshoots worldwide.

Only a day after Sgt. Gentile posted his photo online, he joined RT on Thursday to discuss what brought him to take to the Web to voice his opposition to what was happening all the way in Oakland.

“I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the plethora of emotions I felt,” Sgt. Gentile told RT. Like Olsen, Gentile also served two tours in Iraq. Regardless of where and when he served, however, he said that the sentiments he had would surely be shared with all members of the US Military.

“I knew that I wasn’t the only person that felt that way,” he said. “There are just honestly no words to express the bond that Marines feel for each other. This goes across the service, but it’s very specific for the Marines,” whom he added think of each other “as brothers and sisters — and we mean it.”

Even though he never met his injured comrade, Sgt. Gentile said he thought of him as siblings. “I wouldn’t expect less from any other American, military . . . veteran or not,” he said. “I would expect people to feel this bond. We are all here on the planet together and, like it or not, we are all in this together. I’m thankful an proud to be associated with the people in New York and cities all across this country that share this bond that I share with Corporal Olsen,” he said.

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