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NYC urges protestors to cancel plan to burn U.S. flag in Fort Greene Park

Protesters burn a paper Confederate flag during a

Protesters burn a paper Confederate flag during a rally on June 23, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Ringo H.W. Chiu

City officials and state lawmakers are seeking to put a stop to an activist group planning to set fire to American and Confederate flags at Fort Greene Park on Wednesday night. 

"This protest is a divisive, disrespectful way to express views, and does not reflect the values of our city," City Hall spokesperson Monica Klein said in an email. "The event organizers are urged to cancel this event and find a respectful way to express their opinions, and we are confident that city agencies, including NYPD, will handle any events today appropriately."

The city noted that the locally-based group, Disarm NYPD, has not applied for a permit with the Parks Department and that open flames are prohibited in parks.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn) and Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) also have been calling for the Parks Department to shut down the action. 

"People have the right to free speech but don't have the right to break government rules or incite with this gross display of burning our American flag," Malliotakis tweeted Wednesday. "If these agitators hate America enough to burn this precious symbol ... I suggest they leave." 

Golden, a retired NYPD officer and representative of Brooklyn's 22nd Senate District since 2002, said that the city "cannot stand by" and do nothing in the days before Independence Day.

"If the city allows the American flag to be burned in Fort Greene Park, contrary to Parks rules, it will truly insult all those who have fought to defend our freedoms, our rights and our liberties," Golden said in a statement. "The flag of our country flies proudly throughout the world, on the moon and surely on the streets of Brooklyn."

Disarm NYPD's Facebook and Twitter feeds claim that the burning of the flags is a reaction to the June 17 Charleston shootings, where authorities say Dylann Roof shot and killed nine black church members in South Carolina.

"We cannot ignore the roots of Dylan [sic] Roof's savagery in America's long history of institutionalized racism and murderous violence against black people," the group posted on its website

The demonstration, labeled as a "festival" on its Facebook event, is currently scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park. 


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