Occupy Boston protesters tried to bring a large fire-resistant, military-style tent into their Dewey Square encampment today, but gave up after being told by city officials it would not be allowed.
Protesters said the showdown that had been orchestrated for the media had successfully demonstrated a clash between the city's position that it is concerned about the safety of the camp and its unwillingness to allow safety improvements.
"This was a symbolic direct action," said Angela Giudice, 58, of Roxbury. "We planned this to show the inherent contradiction in the city's position. This is a victory."
Protesters and officials from the fire department and inspectional services department spoke in front of the camp, surrounded by a tight circle of media and other protesters.
City officials told protesters they couldn't bring the tent into the encampment because they didn't have a permit for a structure that large. They also said the camp must stay in its current form.
By about 12:30 p.m., the protesters were carrying the tent, which was wrapped in plastic, back up Summer Street. They later loaded it onto a pickup truck that took it away.
"We're letting them stay there. We're not going to have them build a new town there," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said last week.
In a group meeting before speaking to the city officials, protesters had decided to be respectful of the city's decision. They said they wanted to know more about why larger tents aren't allowed and argued that the new tent would be safer than current tents at the site, which officials have called a fire hazard.
Fire and inspectional services officials apparently didn't provide enough answers for the scores protesters. As officials left the scene, protesters chanted, "We have more questions. We have more questions."