“Disarm NYPD” anti-racism group assembles in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park, setting fire to an American flag they say symbolizes “white supremacy.”
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (JULY 1, 2015) (NBC) – Members of the group dubbed “Disarm NYPD” gathered in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn on Wednesday (July 1) to light on fire the American flag — a symbol for some of the protesters of white supremacy.
“Disarm NYPD” promoted the flag-burning rally on Facebook to “set fire to this symbol of oppression,” the group’s page said.
The group also planned to burn the Confederate flag in response to a racially charged massacre of nine black worshipers in a Charleston church on June 17 during Bible study.
“White supremacy, racism, colonial imperialism still exist, and there are only superficial differences, really, compared with the Confederate flag and the American flag,” said one unidentified protester.
Ad hoc pro-American flag protesters also turned up to the event in an effort to keep the flag they said symbolizes freedom from burning.
“We believe in that the United States of America stands for, and the flag that people have died to protect,” one protester shouted, dressed in an American flag-themed t-shirt and with an American flag in hand.
To the surprise of pro-U.S. flag protesters, Disarm NYPD had already managed to set the flag on fire in an area next to the Revolutionary War memorial, located on the park’s premises.
John Carroll, a resident New Yorker, saw the American flag burning and quickly pulled what remained from the fire.
“I saw smoke from down there. I thought it was too late. I thought it was already going to be completely burnt out. But I got here, and I was shocked to see so much of the red, white and blue still. So I just reached in, took it out and that is when they (Disarm NYPD) ran,” he said.
Several dozen from the New York Hallowed Sons Motorcycle Club clashed with protesters from the flag burning group, leading police to mediate scuffles between the two as they were escorted from the park.
The apparent racist motives of the white man charged in the June 17 killings have sparked an intense dialog across the U.S. South over the legacy of slavery and its symbols, centering on the Civil War-era battle flag of the Confederacy.