Occupy Tampa braves near-freezing temperatures in West Tampa park

01/04/12 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:


Last night was the coldest night of the winter so far in Tampa. According to Wunderground.com it was 35 degrees Fahrenheit right before sunrise at the University of Tampa weather station. At about 7:30 this morning as the sun began to rise a couple of miles away at Voices of Freedom park in West Tampa about 30 people slept inside tents or in sleeping bags on the ground at the new Occupy Tampa location. As a few of them began to emerge from sleep, protester Ashley Perry sat by a campfire to tell what the cold night had been like for the occupiers.

“Oh yeah it was in the thirties, it wasn’t too bad, most of us are sleeping in tents. We’ve only got a couple out on the ground and they choose to be there I guess. But yeah, we insulate the bottom; put all your blankets inside your sleeping bag with you, you’re pretty good.”

“Do you know if there were people at Curtis Hickson park this morning?”

“I don’t think so. Some of our strong supporters from over there came over not too long ago so I’m not too sure if they’re hanging out over there or what.”

“Was last night colder than the night before?”

“I think so, Yeah. People stuck it out anyway. If they can do it in New York and Seattle, we’re fine.”

“Do you have any worries about later on in the season, in the winter, that it will get colder and make it tougher or was last night a good test?”

“I think last night was a pretty good test, because I think you know, for one we’re using the knowledge that other people have built, don’t just put your tents straight on the ground , use our extra cardboard, use our extra signs; anything we’re not using at the time, and get that level of insulation there. And figuring out rather than piling all your blankets on top of you put them in the sleep bag with you and sleep almost naked, and using these survival tactics and were pretty cozy.”

“Are there any electrical outlets you can use for heaters or anything like that?”

“There are electrical outlets around, I’m not positive what the law is on heaters, but we’ve got a little fire going here, and we’ve got another fire pit, we’ve used them both. I guess they had them going both while I was sleeping. So what ever people want to do, we will - you know - if you’re not warm, ask someone and we’ll figure out a way to get you warmer.”

“If people don’t know where your located, give them a idea of where this is.”

“If you are heading out of downtown, it’s to the right off of I-275 on the corner of Albany and Main. So I know we’re not far from Howard/Armenia. Address 2102 W. Main St. Exit 42 off I-275. If people want to get involved.”

“When are your general assemblies, When is your next meeting , other than an assembly?”

“Well the idea of having a 24/7 Occupation, is you can get involved whenever you want to.”

More WMNF stories about Occupy Tampa

List of cold weather shelters in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties

Video tour of Voices of Freedom Park:

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Were they protesting the cold?

Don't tell me that the Occupiers were polluting the air. Have they no shame?