Two people were arrested on Thursday during a flag burning protest ahead of Trump’s “Salute to America” Fourth of July celebration in Washington, DC.
Police also arrested political activist Gregory Lee Joey Johnson during the demonstration outside of the White House just before Trump’s celebration was set to start, someone confirmed on his Twitter account. His account also said that another protester had been arrested along with him, but did not identify him.
Johnson famously burnt an American flag outside the 1984 RNC to protest against then-President Ronald Reagan’s policies. He was later arrested and later charged for desecrating a venerated object.
Johnson challenged the decision before the Supreme Court in the famous case Texas v Johnson, which ruled that flag desecration is protected by the First Amendment as “’symbolic speech.”
He is a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party which organized the protest on Thursday in front of the White House.
Hundreds of other protesters who were not affiliated with the Revolutionary Communist Party attended the Independence Day demonstration, carrying anti-Trump signs and a giant “Baby Trump” balloon.
Meanwhile, Trump was ready to host an Independence Day show — called the “Salute to America” — featuring a speech from the Lincoln Memorial, a display of military tanks and fighter jets roaring over Washington, AFP reported.
Thousands of people were gathering on the National Mall in the center of Washington for concerts, fireworks and an address by Trump.
Trump’s decision to give a public speech and hold a military parade on the Fourth of July holidays has divided the country.
Supporters of the US president said he was expressing love for the country and the military. However, Trump’s critics accused him of hijacking and politicizing a traditionally non-partisan holiday and using taxpayers’ money to stage it.
“What, I wonder, will Donald Trump say this evening when he speaks to the nation at an event designed more to stroke his ego than celebrate American ideals?” said Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in a speech in Iowa.