Protesters burned a US flag in front of the White House on Thursday, sparking a scuffle with President Trump supporters who were awaiting the start of his Fourth of July “Salute to America.”
Two people were arrested — one was charged with malicious burning and felony assault on a police officer, and the other with obstructing a police investigation and resisting arrest — for the 5:30 p.m. melee, the US Secret Service said in a statement.
Video posted on Twitter by a Washington Examiner reporter named Steven Nelson shows protesters setting the flag ablaze and dropping it on the ground.
A man in a sleeveless, red “Make America Great Again” shirt, who identifies himself as a veteran, rushes over to pick up the flag and put out the flames.
Another man, in a suit and red MAGA hat, then speeds over yelling “put it out, put it out.”
Then, the man in the red shirt can be seen charging back toward the protesters, who form a human circle while chanting “America was never great.”
Some of the flag-burners could be seen being shoved to the ground.
Three people had to be treated for minor injuries, including two officers with the Secret Service Uniformed Division who were hurt while trying to make arrests, the agency said.
Although the Secret Service didn’t release the names of those arrested, one of them was flag-burning activist Gregory “Joey” Johnson, a member of the Revolutionary Community Party, according to USA Today.
Johnson was the lead plaintiff in the 1989 Supreme Court case “Texas v. Johnson” that invalidated prohibitions on desecrating the American flag and made flag burning protected speech under the First Amendment.
The Secret Service said the display occurred “outside the limits of a permit issued by the National Park Service.”
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