The harsh reality of the Mile High City’s highly variable weather has begun taking its toll on the Occupy Denver protests. Two protestors were reportedly hospitalized with hypothermia last night as a snowstorm arrived and organizers warn ‘people will die.’
As rain was failing at the outset of the storm last night, the Denver Police Department warned protestors that tents they had set up in Civic Center Park would need to come down. Video of the confrontation shows it was peaceful but police were firm that the protestors’ violation of law would not be ignored.
One protestor tells the policeman, “People are going to die tonight.”
- Watch: Occupy Denver protestors worry about the wintry weather in Denver
Attendance at the ‘occupation’ has been steadily declining and the need for shelter appears to have outweighed most protestors’ conviction to their cause. Only 30 people stayed overnight as they were forced to sleep underneath tarps on the ground.
Sympathy for the group’s plight among the city’s residents was not particularly strong, at least on the online media.
Twitter had comments such as “Seriously, go home!” and one said any losses would be “Natural selection.” On Facebook, one commenter said, “None of you have jobs, not because of banks or corporations, but because you lack WORK ETHIC! You want something for nothing!”
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Leading up to the storm’s arrival, organizers had asked for support in the form of cold weather gear including tarps, blankets, coats and gloves.
Organizers said that two people were taken to the hospital with hypothermia. Downtown Denver saw 2 to 5 inches of snow overnight and temperatures dropped to 29 degrees.
While the snow will taper off as the day progresses, the ground will remain very wet and temperatures are going to plummet. Current forecasts call for temperatures downtown to drop well into the teens before the sun comes up on Thursday.
Hypothermia safety information (National Weather Service):
Hypothermia is a dangerously low body temperature and is the most common weather killer in winter. When you hear of a hiker or climber, or a hunter or stranded traveler perishing from cold weather exposure, hypothermia was the cause. Most people are surprised to learn that hypothermia deaths can occur with temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees. If you or your clothing are wet, then hypothermia becomes even more likely.
Warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Immediate medical attention should be given to victims suspected of suffering from hypothermia. If no help is available, the victim should be warmed slowly with warm liquids along with dry clothing and blankets.