SALT LAKE CITY — Police are preparing for arrests and have ordered all protesters to leave a Salt Lake City park after a man was found dead Friday morning inside a tent at the encampment.
The Occupy Salt Lake group has been in Pioneer Park for weeks, protesting what they say is corporate greed, in solidarity with the larger Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and elsewhere.
The body of a man believed to be in his 40s was found early Friday morning in a tent at the site. It is believed he died from a combination of drug use and carbon monoxide poisoning from a propane heater found inside the tent, Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said.
Authorities had not released the man's name.
Burbank ordered all protesters to pack up their tents and leave the park by Saturday evening or risk arrest. He said protesters may use the park during the day, but can no longer camp overnight.
"I'm asking for cooperation. My goal is to help with the transition," Burbank said Friday. "If there are people who want to get arrested, we will accommodate them."
He said 91 people have been arrested in the park for various violations, including drugs and alcohol, since the Occupy movement began — roughly the same number of arrests in the area during all of last year.
"We will treat every individual with respect, and it's what I am asking from them," Burbank said. "There is no reason for violence or mayhem."Comment on this story
Group organizers said many of the roughly 150 protesters plan to stay and go to jail.
"There are a lot of people who are willing to get arrested, and the chief is naÏve if he thinks it will end there," said protest organizer Jesse Fruhwirth, 30.
Isaac Hoppe, 31, however, said he'll pack up and leave soon.
"I wish I could, but I can't get arrested right now. I just got a job after 16 months of unemployment," Hoppe said. "This won't be the end for Occupy. We have a lot at stake for a lot of people."