Denver 'Occupy' protesters prepare as snow looms

By Kristen Wyatt

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 25 2011 2:50 p.m. MDT

DENVER — About 30 Occupy Wall Street protesters camped in downtown Denver stacked blankets and sleeping bags near bags of charcoal on Tuesday as they vowed to remain in place through the season's first predicted snowfall, which was expected by Wednesday morning.

The National Weather Service has warned that up to a foot of snow could fall in parts of Colorado by Wednesday, but protesters seemed determined to stick it out. They've received briefings on winter camping and have put a plan in place to check each other for signs of hypothermia. They've also gotten shovels and plan to take turns keeping the sidewalks clear of snow.

Also, an anonymous supporter — who hasn't been protesting — was scheduled to bring tubs of hot chili just in time for the first flakes late Tuesday.

"I welcome the challenge of this cold weather," said 51-year-old Dwayne Hudson, a landscaper who has been living at the Occupy Denver site for 10 days. "This is like war. You know, soldiers do it when they occupy a place. I'm sure the mountains of Afghanistan get pretty cold. They do it. We're going to do it."

Another protester, Shannon Garcia, was a bit more concerned about the changing weather, but she has good reason to worry — she's three months' pregnant. Eating a hard-boiled egg Tuesday, Garcia pointed to blankets by her side and said she's keeping a nervous eye on building clouds.

"I'm freaking out a little bit, of course," Garcia said.

But she insisted she'll stay through the cold weather.

"Everybody here takes care of everybody, so I have no doubt that if things get really bad for me, I'll be safe," she said.

Becca Chavez, one of the Occupy Denver participants, said protesters are exploring different options to deal with the weather. A recent lesson on winter camping was given "so people can stay safe out there," she said.

Braving cold temperatures is a sacrifice participants of the movement are prepared to make, she said.

"What we're doing is so important," Chavez said. "Nothing like this has been done before."

Associated Press writer Ivan Moreno contributed to this report.

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