Activists Plan to Burn American Flags in New York City Ahead of Fourth of July

A group calling for the immediate disarmament of the New York Police Department plans to burn American flags in a Brooklyn park on Wednesday, just days before the Fourth of July holiday.

“Disarm NYPD” announced the “Burn the American Flags” event on Facebook, inviting individuals to join the organization at Fort Greene Park to “set fire to this symbol of oppression.”

An American flag burns during a 2011 protest in Pakistan. (ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)
An American flag burns during a 2011 protest in Pakistan. (ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Organizers said accused Charleston shooter Dylann Roof wasn’t an “isolated actor,” but a “product of a consistent pattern of state-sponsored terrorism and radicalized dehumanization in America.” The event originally was aimed at burning the Confederate flag, but later changed to focus on the stars and stripes.

“There will be no peace until we tear down this system of oppression,” the group wrote on Facebook. “It isn’t enough to take the flag down; we must put an end to white supremacy once and for all.”

Image source: Facebook
Image source: Facebook

After the event attracted online attention, “Disarm NYPD” defended the event in an online statement.

“We find it a sign of the times that people can care so much about a piece of cloth, while at the same time be so quiet about black churches being burned all over the country,” a post on Facebook said. “Perhaps this is the great difference between us and the so-called ‘patriots’. While they express their loyalty to symbols, we express our loyalty to the lives of the oppressed.”

[sharequote align=”center”]”We do not believe the ideals of America are anything to be revered.”[/sharequote]

It continued, “We do not believe the ideals of America are anything to be revered. We are building something that will be much better than America. While the so-called patriots yell that we should just leave, we instead choose to dream. We dream of what real freedom looks like: freedom from paramilitaries occupying our communities, beating and killing our sons and daughters; freedom from our communities being destroyed by the speculative capital of gentrification; freedom from mass surveillance; and freedom from systemic racism.”

“So, we will burn the American flag, a symbol of oppression and genocide, and in the same action, dismantle our stunted, cynical expectations of what is possible in the world,” the group’s statement concluded. “The current trajectory of history is unsustainable. It is completely unrealistic to desire things stay as they are, and more unrealistic, even abominable, to desire to ‘go back to our roots’. We, the dreamers, are the true realists. We know things can’t continue this way, so we commit to building a better world. A world better than America.”

According to the “Disarm NYPD” Facebook page, the group’s mission is to “take away power from the powers that be.” The group calls for the immediate disarmament of the NYPD and demands the “demobilization of the police form our neighborhoods.”

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan expressed contempt for the American flag last week, telling hundreds gathered in a D.C. church that it is a symbol of racism and needs to be brought down.

Last Tuesday, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh made a prediction that the American flag would “come under assault” after the Confederate flag. At the time he said, “Do not doubt me.”

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