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Occupy Boston winter tent sent packing

Posted by Alex Pearlman  December 5, 2011 05:00 PM

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occupy boston tents.jpgAfter the Boston Police confiscated a sink last week, which resulted in scuffles and arrests, it was made very clear that no building materials of any kind would be allowed to enter Occupy Boston's Dewey Square encampment. Still, Occupiers today staged a noon event to attempt to bring in a winterized, fire-proof tent, inviting city officials (including Mayor Thomas Menino, who was not present) and numerous media outlets.

"We're trying to make our camp safer," Occupy Boston librarian John Ford told the crowd, alluding to the city's allegations about unsanitary and dangerous conditions at the Occupation. Tents were taken down earlier in the day, and the logistics and safety teams were planning to replace those tents with this new, safer, larger, and warmer tent.

A court motion filed last week by the city pointed to numerous health and fire code violations, and in an attempt to better comply with Mayor Menino and Fire Marshal Bart Shea's demands, Occupiers attempted to bring in a safer tent than the small ones currently dotting the landscape. The new tent also came with a certificate of flame resistance.

Occupier Kristopher Eric Martin led a round of questions with city officials, amplified by the people's mic system of human echoes, as members of Occupy Boston asked why, specifically, this tent wouldn't be allowed in, when other, less safe tents were allowed without problems.

"There is currently a court order in place that says nothing can be added or amended, and we're looking to enforce that," said John Bailey of Boston Parks and Recreation. Another fire official then, confusingly, insisted the reason for not allowing the new tent in was because of a lack of permits. However, Shea testified in court on Dec. 1 that he would not issue any permits at all, while also suggesting the camp focus on fire safety.

Ultimately, the Occupiers were unsuccessful, and the tent was taken back to its truck, accompanied by a somber singing of "We Shall Overcome" and chants of "Tell me what hypocrisy looks like! This is what hypocrisy looks like!"

Photo by fabulous_redhead (Flickr)

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