Cold weather and holidays are taking a toll on Occupy Maine. Only five people attended the daily general assembly at 6 p.m. Thursday in Lincoln Park, far fewer than the two dozen people who were attending earlier this month, and the 30 to 40 people in November and October.

“What’s on the agenda tonight?” asked the assembly’s facilitator, Phui Yi Kong.

“Tonight’s agenda is not to freeze to death,” replied Alan Porter, his arms wrapped around his body in an attempt to warm himself.

The temperature was 24 degrees, but it seemed colder in the strong wind. The forecast called for temperatures to drop to 13 degrees overnight.

Thursday night’s small turnout has been typical this week. It’s difficult to say how many people are part of the Occupy Maine movement. The group does not keep a list. There are no dues. Its non-hierarchical structure means that everybody has an equal say, whether they camp at Lincoln Park every night or show up at one general membership meeting.

But with the arrival of winter, one thing is clear: the number of hard-core people willing to live and sleep outdoors is dwindling.

There are still a lot of tents in Lincoln Park. There were 42 on Thursday afternoon. But most were empty.

Police estimate that there are 10 to 12 people at the park during the daytime and about that many or fewer sleeping overnight.

The numbers of people camping at night are declining and will be reduced by half this winter, said Harry Brown, 59, who has been sleeping almost every night in the park since October.

“To be out here, you have to know what you are doing,” said Brown, who has been homeless and living outdoors since last spring. He showed off his heavy-duty sleeping bag, which he said will keep him warm up to 20 below zero.

The hardest part of the day, he said, is climbing out of his warm sleeping bag in the morning. He said he is prepared to last all winter.

During the day, Brown said, many people in the encampment spend the daytime indoors, in places like the Portland Public Library of the library at the University of Southern Maine.

Bobby Davis, who on Thursday afternoon was in his tent entertaining two friends by playing music on his pink guitar, said it’s difficult to live outdoors for an extended time, especially if one gets wet during a storm.

“It’s tough to survive,” said Davis, 51, who grew up in Falmouth. “You can’t do it day in and day out.”

He said he camps out at Lincoln Park “off and on.” He said most of the occupiers need to move indoors occasionally to warm up for a few days. He said they go “couch surfing” in friends’ apartments.

Heather Curtis, one of the most vocal members of Occupy Maine, said she was surprised at how her body has become accustomed to living outdoors. In fact, when she goes indoors she feels as though she does not have enough air, she said.

She said many supporters of the movement feel guilty because they don’t camp overnight. But she said they shouldn’t.

“You don’t have to be here to be occupier,” she said. “If you are here in spirit, you are an occupier.”

She noted that the group has more than 3,000 people following it on Twitter. She said she sleeps at the park about five days a week. She estimates 25 people sleep in the park at night and the police estimate is too low.

The group is the Portland version of Occupy Wall Street, a protest movement that began Sept. 17 in Zuccotti Park in New York City’s Wall Street financial district. The group is protesting social and economic inequality, high unemployment and corporate corruption.

After the Portland City Council voted Dec. 7 to deny Occupy Maine a permit to camp overnight in Lincoln Park, the group filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing that permit denial violated the protestors’ constitutional rights.

The filing in Superior Court allows the encampment to remain in place — Occupy Maine and city officials agreed that the protesters would not have to leave while the case is in litigation.

The group is seeking a preliminary injunction. The city must file a brief in response to the group’s motion by Jan. 9. Occupy Maine will then have seven days to reply.

Portland attorney John Branson is representing Occupy Maine. At the group’s general membership meeting on Thursday, Curtis said that Branson is donating not only his time but also paying for court filing fees. She said the group needs to start a legal defense fund and raise money for legal costs.

The meeting was adjourned less than 15 minutes after it began because the cold temperatures limited the discussion.

The group will hold its general assembly today at 6 p.m. at the Meg Perry Center at 644 Congress St. Kong said she expects there will be a much bigger turnout because the meeting will be held indoors.

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