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By Brenda Norrell
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tohono O'odham Veteran David Ortega remained hospitalized Wednesday night after being pepper sprayed at the protest of the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC. Doctors are undertaking tests to see if Ortega had a heart attack or stroke after police repeatedly fired pepper spray on the peaceful protesters.
"It was like a cloud of pepper spray," Ortega said Wednesday night recovering in a Scottsdale hospital. "I was carrying the Veterans for Peace flag when another person was hit directly in the face with pepper spray. I rushed to the front to help him, like I always do as a Peacemaker."
Ortega said the pepper spray was fired at them several times. Ortega began experiencing shortness of breath and chest pains and was hospitalized. Ortega has been serving as a Peacemaker at Occupy Tucson in recent weeks. He is known nationally as a Peacemaker at Indigenous rights events. He is the third veteran to be hospitalized after police brutality in recent weeks.
Scott Olsen, Marine and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, was shot in the head by a police projectile at Occupy Oakland. Olsen is still struggling to recover his speech. Then Kayvan Sabeghi, 32, also a veteran, was beaten by police, arrested and jailed the night of the shutdown of the Port of Oakland. He suffered a ruptured spleen.
During Wednesday's peaceful protest, Tohono O'odham youth Alex Soto was hit directly in the face with pepper spray by the police.
Indigenous Peoples, including O'odham and Navajos resisting relocation at Big Mountain on the Navajo Nation, are now gathered in Scottsdale will continue their protest and resistance of the corporate influence of ALEC. They announced plans for Thursday.
Dozens of protesters were attacked by police with pepper spray on Wed. Seven people were confirmed arrested so far in a day of action against ALEC, protesters said in a statement.
On Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m., hundreds marched and converged on the Kierland Westin Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, where ALEC is attempting to hold its annual States and Nation Summit.
“We will continue to use diversity of tactics to send the message to ALEC members that the we are watching and we will not stand for the further destruction of our communities and environment that ALEC members push into law in order to fill their own pockets," stated Alex Soto of O’odham Solidarity Across Borders.
“The amount of force that police are using to protect ALEC’s corporate interests reveals how corrupt this system is," Soto said.
The resisters said, "Behind closed doors of ALEC meetings, thousands of state politicians and hundreds of powerful transnational corporations come together to create laws that advocate for, among other things, the desecration of Indigenous land through eco-cide and the growing dragnet of incarceration that sweeps up immigrants and people of color, all for the profit of global corporations, like SB1070. "
Additional actions are planned through December 3.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1
4pm: March at Freeport McMoran
Converge at Freeport McMoran, Downtown Phoenix, AZ.
Decentralized Actions at Various Sites
Locations throughout the valley All day
Rally against ALEC influence on Arizona Politics organized by Arizona at Work
Speaking Event w/ Lisa Graves, Publisher of ALECexposed.org
6pm: At OccupyPhoenix
Full schedule located at: www.azresistsalec.wordpress.com/schedule/