Facebook Twitter

VIET VETS RESPOND TO FLAG LAW WITH BURNING `FEST OF DEFIANCE’

SHARE VIET VETS RESPOND TO FLAG LAW WITH BURNING `FEST OF DEFIANCE’

A group of radical Vietnam veterans on Friday said members planned to burn 1,000 flags at one minute after midnight in a "festival of defiance" against a new federal law forbidding flag desecration.

The law, due to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, is "an attack on people's right to protest and dissent," said Emmett Antius, a member of a group that calls itself Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Anti-Imperialist."It's another step down the road toward fascism," he said.

Members of the group said they had received lots of community support and would have American Civil Liberties Union and National Lawyers Guild lawyers at the scene as observers.

They said similar flag-burnings would be conducted in other U.S. cities by veterans, women, students, artists and minorities.

Kathleen Taylor, ACLU director in Seattle, said the law encourages the very action it's intended to discourage.

Hal Kulgren, Seattle Police Department spokesman, said Friday there would be arrests if a law is broken, even if the veterans torch the flags as a group.

Burning one flag is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

The new law is still subject to a Supreme Court review. If the court overturns it, pressure will build to amend the Constitution to ban flag desecration.