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Woman Dies At Occupy Protest

November 7, 2011 by staff 

Woman Dies At Occupy Protest, Vancouver’s mayor reiterated the need to close down the Occupy Vancouver protest site after a woman, believed to be in her 20s, died at the encampment Saturday afternoon.

The woman was found unresponsive around 4: 30 p.m. and was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services spokesman Capt. Gabe Roder confirmed the woman was in a tent, but it is unknown whether she was a resident of the protest camp.

Witnesses said the woman may have died of a heroin overdose, but police and rescue officials were unsure of the cause of death.

“We don’t know if it’s an overdose,” Roder said.

“The cause of death has not been determined,” said Vancouver police spokeswoman Jana McGuinness.

“However, no evidence has been uncovered at this early stage in the investigation to suggest the death is suspicious.”

McGuinness added that the B.C. Coroner’s service has been notified and efforts to locate next of kin are underway.

Two ambulances initially responded to the emergency call from the campsite outside the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The atmosphere was tense at the downtown site, as several protesters and friends of the victim confronted television news crews on scene.

Chris Shaw, 61, was the first medic to respond to the call. He reportedly found the woman without a pulse.

Shaw, a former army medic, along with two Occupy Vancouver medics, performed CPR for 10 minutes while they waited for paramedics.

Shaw said he didn’t know if it was an overdose or not, but they don’t know how long she was unresponsive because the woman had been in the tent alone.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement that the woman’s death highlights the need to close down the Occupy site due to pressing safety issues, but would not give a concrete date or way to dismantle the tent city.

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