A rare October winter storm that dumped snow on northeast cities on Saturday is the latest challenge for Occupy protesters. But protesters vowed they would not abandon their campsites because winter had arrived.
"Everyone's been calling it our Valley Forge moment," Michael McCarthy, a former Navy medic and protester who’s living in the tent city near City Hall in Providence, R.I., told The Associated Press. "Everybody thought that George Washington couldn't possibly survive in the Northeast."
Instead of going home, protesters were organizing cold-weather safety lectures, taking donations of coats and blankets and forming committees to come up with ways to winterize their campsites, the New York Times reports.
According to the AP:
Some movements are scouting locations indoors, including vacant buildings or other unused properties, possibly even foreclosed homes, though some question the wisdom of holding a protest outside the public eye. Lighting campfires is probably out of the question in most places because of safety regulations.
Occupy Boston had established a winterization committee that’s raised about $35,000 to buy winter supplies, the AP reports. Various ideas for keeping warm -- from building igloos to alternatives to forbidden combustion-based heaters -- were being discussed, winterization committee member Eric Martin told the AP. "We're looking at ideas from military vets to survivalists, to the homeless community to indigenous peoples," Martin said.
The Occupy D.C. protesters had spent $1,200 worth of tarps with donations gathered throughout the month to help keep the cold at bay, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“I’ve been going around tents today trying to weatherize them,” Eric, 50, an unemployed carpenter who’s one of the 100 demonstrators camped in McPherson Square, told the L.A. Times. “But we’ve been talking about maybe building a pavilion out of large tents with outdoor heaters in it so people can come in and get warm when they need to.”
A snowstorm in Denver last week sent five Occupy protesters to the hospital, the New York Times reports. But many protesters were taking the cold weather in their stride.
At the Occupy Albany protest, “we have plenty of blankets to go around,” Robert Magee, 27, a lawyer who'd brought a sleeping bag that was rated at 0 degrees, told the New York Times. “In Albany, we’re pretty used to cold temperatures. I think of it as a good thing. It’s a good test run for what’s going to come later.”
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