Occupy Wall Street has survived arrests, a skeptical mayor and potential expulsion from Zuccotti Park, but a weekend forecast of snow offers a reminder that the movement's resilience will soon be tested anew.
The temperature had dropped noticeably on Friday morning after a cold rain swept through New York the night before, and in Zuccotti Park hats and hoods proliferated. Newly erected blue tarps stretched over stations that host various working groups responsible for handling tasks like food and outreach. The New York City forecast called for temperatures to drop to about 32 F / 0 C Friday night, with a 90 percent chance of rain and/or light snow on Saturday with highs expected only around 45 F / 7 C; temps are expect to drop to about 35 F / 2 C both Saturday night and Sunday night.
At the comfort working group's space Bea, 25, was busy unpacking boxes of donated blankets and hand warmers. A barefoot girl, looking uncomfortable, shuffled past a rack of secondhand sweaters and shirts and asked if there were any socks. Bea obliged.
We're doing the best we can, Bea said. We're collecting as many blankets as possible. In regards to being prepared it truly comes down to the person being responsible for themselves.
Police Confiscate Portable Generators
Police officers entered the park early Friday morning and confiscated six portable generators protesters had been using to power laptops and other electronic devices. But Bea said that there were no plans to use heat lamps, citing the flammable tents pitched throughout the park.
The cigarettes are enough of a fire hazard, she said.
Several of the protesters camped out in the park said they have no intention of leaving. Josh, 25, said he planned ahead by bringing extra clothes and flannels with him.
I'm planning to stick around, he said.
Lily Harris, 22, emerged from her tent in a white bathrobe and a knit cap to chat with her neighbor. She expressed a similar determination to stay put, but suggested that not everyone presently in Zuccotti Park shared her resolve.
I think it's going to weed out the non-serious people, the people who have been here to mooch off of the food and clothes and are maybe a little shady, she said. That happens with every community.
Occupy Wall Street has derived its tactics and its name from a sustained presence in downtown Manhattan. Mark Bray, a member of the press working group, said that would continue, but he added that it did not define the movement.
The thing I'd like to emphasize when I bring up this issue is that we intend on staying here and continuing to occupy the park, but that's symbolic, said Bray. The emphasis is on economic injustice.