After the violent clashes between police and protesters at Saturday's massive Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Times Square, a marine who served in Iraq delivered an impromptu speech in front of some NYPD officers, denouncing their crowd-control methods and police brutality. "This is not a war zone!" he yells at NYPD officers. "These are unarmed people."
A crowd eventually gathers around the marine, identified as Sergeant. Shamar Thomas, who served with the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion USMC in Iraq. Thomas, a New York native, then explains that his father served in Afghanistan, his mother served in Iraq and that he doesn't like seeing cops hurting the people he and his family fought to protect:
On his YouTube channel, where the video of the speech is posted, he writes:
I took an Oath that I live by. am NOT anti-NYPD. I am anti- Police Brutality. I am no longer under contract with the USMC so I do NOT have to follow military uniform regulations. I DON'T affiliate myself with ANY GROUPS or POLITICAL ORG. I affiliate myself with the AMERICAN PEOPLE that's it. I REFUSE to affiliate with anything that SEPARATES. There is an obvious problem in the country and PEACEFUL PEOPLE should be allowed to PROTEST without Brutality. I was involved in a RIOT in Rutbah, Iraq 2004 and we did NOT treat the Iraqi citizens like they are treating the unarmed civilians in our OWN Country. No one was brutalized because our mission was to 'WIN the hearts and minds.' why should I expect anything less in my OWN Country.
Earlier this month a group of veterans calling themselves OccupyMARINES came out in support of the Occupy Wall Street protests, now entering their thirtieth day. They write on their Facebook page, "Marines support the movement. We will support demonstrators with organization, direction, supply and logistics, and leadership." It is illegal for active duty soldiers to protest in uniform. It appears all of the OccupyMarines are retired.
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