Mother Nature may have been brutal this weekend, but protesters claim she’s no match for Occupy Wall Street. The majority of protesters have vowed to ride out the coming cold.
“As long as there’s fire in people’s bellies, they’ll stay warm,” said protester Evangelina Jimenez, 33, of Portland, Ore, who was bundled up in two sweaters, three shirts, a jacket and two pairs of jeans.
“The last couple of days were pretty rough,” admitted Miami native Lily Casteanedo, 22. “But it’s not going to stop us.”
Not all protesters share that conviction: A few have fled Zuccotti Park for the winter, according to Jimenez. About one in five protesters packed up and left this weekend to avoid the snow and ice, reports claim.
Protester Michaela Weber, 18, has been camped out for three weeks, but says she doesn’t know how much longer she can take it.
“I’m from Florida and I’m already sick and have an ear infection,” Weber said. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay through the winter.”
Without generators, protesters are using metallic “space blankets,” hand warmers and layers of clothing to shield them from the weather.
Others use plain old body heat.
“I’m staying here with my girlfriend, so we use body heat to stay warm,” said protester Nelson Cespedes, 18, of Washington Heights. “I almost went into hypothermic shock, but I’m going to stay as long as my body will allow it.”
Pedal power skirts crackdown
The FDNY confiscated fuel-powered generators from the OWS camp on Friday, saying they were a fire hazard. But one generator passed muster — one with wheels.
“We’re powering batteries with the bike,” said Brooklynite Keegan Stephan. “This is the one generator they can’t take.”
The batteries are used to power computers and small electronics, said Steven Ma, 27, a bike mechanic from Brooklyn. Each battery holds 100 volts of electricity, but four hours of biking yields only 25 volts, he said.
“We would need 10 people to power a hair dryer,” said Ma.
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