Skip to comments.Flag-waving harder at Capitol (Raleigh Tea Partiers get restriction on individual poles)
Posted on 04/14/2010 7:28:34 PM PDT by Libloather
Flag-waving harder at Capitol
BY SARAH OVASKA - Staff writer
Modified Wed, Apr 14, 2010 12:10 AM
RALEIGH -- Organizers of a tea party event planned for Thursday at the state Capitol are unhappy they can't carry flags on poles because of state officials' fears that they could be used as weapons.
The prohibition applies to the American flag, North Carolina's state flag or anything else carried on a pole more than a foot in length. Scott Hunter, chief of the State Capitol Police, said that the group will be allowed to carry tiny flags of the kind handed out at parades and Fourth of July events.
"It's sad our country has come to this," said Laura Long, the Apex woman who applied for the permit on behalf of Triangle Conservatives Unite.
The ban on flagpoles and signs with posts that could be turned into weapons was added in September to the permit from the N.C. Department of Administration that groups need to hold demonstrations or events on state-operated grounds.
The rule states that demonstration participants can't carry "signs, banners, posters and other similar displays" attached to metal, wood or plastic posts. That includes flagpoles more than a foot in length, according to Jill Lucas, a department spokeswoman.
Doing so would invalidate the permit and mean police could shut down an event, said Hunter, who drafted the restriction. Hunter said that the measure was adopted to protect people, not to infringe upon their rights.
"It had nothing at all to do with the American flag, the North Carolina flag or anything like that," Hunter said. "The regulation was put in place to prevent injuries."
Hunter said groups that have had signs in violation, with large posts, have just been asked not to bring them onto the demonstration site.
The ban comes as, elsewhere in the nation, demonstrations have become heated and raucous. Threats of violence were directed at several members of Congress following the recent, and controversial, overhaul of the national's health care law.
But Long said that there's never been any violence at North Carolina tea party events and that the restrictions go overboard. Local conservative leaders, including Claude Pope Jr., chairman of the Wake County Republican Party, were also critical of the restriction.
For a group that gets much of its support from people frustrated with the red tape of local and federal government, the realization that the restriction applies to flagpoles does prove a point, Long said.
"This is a very petty argument by the government," she said.
No rights violation
The rule does not appear to violate First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, as long as it's applied consistently to groups of all political persuasions, said Michael Gerhardt, a law professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.
"There are other opportunities for people to express themselves," Gerhardt said. On Thursday, tea partyers' use of props to express themselves may just be limited to miniature flags or bigger flags and banners not strung up on poles.
Tea party groups, part of a grass-roots movement that's gained momentum over the last year with its fiscal conservatism and anti-tax stances, are staging events across the nation Thursday to coincide with deadlines for federal and state income tax returns. Thursday's public event at the state Capitol in downtown Raleigh is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Tea party demonstrators on Thursday won't be able to wave pole-mounted flags at the state Capitol as these marchers did in a 2003 human rights rally. Triangle Conservatives Unite plans a rally at 5 p.m.
I suppose we could burn as many as we want...
gee-—I guess if it rains umbrellas are out of the equation, too.
Find the largest flag (I’m talking HUGE, here) you can get your hands on and unfurl it with many volunteers. That would made a statement. ;-)
Turn every shirt into a flag and wear it or put the flag on top of a hat.
Each of these state officials needs to be voted out at the first opportunity.
What a load of crap. They know perfectly well they support the real thugs who are violent.
metal, wood or plastic posts.
ROLLED UP NEWSPAPER!
Balloon, Helium, Rope, A little weight on bottom portion of flag.
Hold the flag with your hands, and wear 6 foot stilts.
Are people allowed to have walking sticks?
How about canes? I’d like to see them confiscating all the senior citizen’s canes. Heehee
I was just about to suggest the same thing.
HOLD YOUR FLAG/SIGN/BANNER UP WITH HELIUM BALLOONS.
I’ve attached my flag to a pool noodle via cable ties. I dare them to tell me it’s dangerous.
Some cardboard cores for rolled-up goods (such as carpet sold by the foot) are heavy, thick, and hard, and they are not wood, metal, or plastic.
Partially inflated weather balloon with a rope and weight at the bottom should work just fine.