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Will ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Last The Winter? Protesters Preparing As If They Will

Though Some Admit A Move To A Warmer Climate To Demonstrate May Happen
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Women only tent in Zuccotti Park on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

Women only tent in Zuccotti Park on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Now in its third month and with winter on the way, “Occupy Wall Street” protesters are starting to formulate a game plan for the cold months ahead.

But as CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano reports, not everyone thinks the movement will make it through a New York winter.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports

Military tents the size of some New York City studio apartments now sit inside Zuccotti Park. Protesters hope the tents will help them get through the winter. They’re also playing another role – as a safe space just for women.

Yet another may act as a sort of medical tent.

“People come in here with anything from a blister on their hand. We’ve had cases of hypothermia,” protester Pauly Kastora said. “Oh, yeah we’ve had multiple cases of hypothermia.”

Inside this military tent there’s a makeshift first aid station complete with cold medicines, bandages even a wheelchair.

Then, there’s also “pedal power.” The city has been citing safety concerns recently and took out the protester’s generators. They said they’ve found an alternative, though.

Bicycle powered generators.

One woman at the bike station couldn’t show Mercogliano how it works, but assured her it does.

“Yeah, but right now not everything is not completely up and running and three bikes is not enough to power the whole park,” protester Lauren Minis said.

To survive, protesters say they not only need power, but a place for pets. So recently, they said a care center for animals cropped up.

Will the movement make it through the cold winter ahead now armed with pedal power and first aid army tents?

“I think a lot of occupiers might start moving to southern cities or somewhere where it’s warmer,” protester Adam Smith said.

He wasn’t the only protester to tell Mercogliano that.

Protesters said they plan on buying possibly as many as 20 army tents, each costing about $25,000. They said the tents would be paid for through some of the hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to the group.

Tents are against the rules at the park, but the company that owns the land has declined to enforce that rule for weeks.

Most of the protesters who have been living in the park have been staying in lightweight, two-person tents.

Maria Failing has been working at the park for three and a half weeks and says there is a key difference between the two types of tents.

“They’re weather proof, the other ones were not,” she said.

Protesters are also putting wooden pallets on the ground and covering them with foam insulation board.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he was told by the Buildings Department that the new tents are not in violation of any building codes, but said he still has concerns about some of the behavior in the park.

“There have been reports in the papers of people defecating in alleys and that sort of thing. We’ve got a lot of police out there looking to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Bloomberg said. “But if there’s some place that we didn’t see, give us a call and we’ll make sure. Call 311 and we’ll take a look at it.”

Toilets were donated to the demonstrators last week.

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