An activist who was arrested outside of the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland for burning the American flag is planning a similar demonstration for President Donald Trump’s July Fourth “Salute to America.”
As The Ohio Star previously reported, Cleveland officials agreed to pay $225,000 in a legal settlement for improperly arresting Gregory “Joey” Johnson at the 2016 RNC.
They also agreed to a $50,000 settlement with Steven Fridley, who was arrested for partaking in Johnson’s protest. Johnson and Fridley both had their criminal charges dismissed by the Cleveland Municipal Court, and sued Cleveland for violating their First Amendment rights.
Johnson, who was the defendant in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1989 Texas v. Johnson decision, told The Washington Examiner that he’s “going to be there in D.C.” for Trump’s Independence Day celebration and “that rag of empire and oppression is going to burn.”
“I’ll be in town to make it happen and to help expose Trump’s fascist agenda with the message that America was never great. America was built on slavery, genocide, and war,” Johnson told The Examiner. “Instead of trying to go back to some dreamland America that never existed, we need to go forward to a world without America and everything it stands for.”
Some Republican members of Congress, including Ohio Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH-05), have introduced a Constitutional amendment in the U.S. House that would give Congress the “power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.” Trump said he supports “an amendment for a strong ban on burning our American flag,” calling it “a no brainer.”
But Johnson said he thinks the American flag represents “this shameless fascist jackal Trump.”
He said Trump wants to turn the Fourth of July “into a fascist extravaganza of ‘make America white again,’ xenophobia, jingoism, and American chauvinism. And this is all dangerous to humanity.”
Johnson, a member of the Revolutionary Community Party, told The Examiner that he doesn’t support politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14).
“Bernie contributes to and backs up American chauvinism,” said Johnson. “Bernie or AOC, when you are talking about the [Democratic Socialists of America], you are talking about sharing in the spoils of imperialism.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gregory Johnson” by Cleveland.com.