People who are burning the American flag as part of their protest against President-elect Donald Trump could potentially face serious consequences, given his previous comments on the issue.
Photos taken on Nov. 9 and then uploaded to Twitter show a group of anti-Trump protesters burning the flag as they stand outside Trump Tower in New York City.
The flag was also burned by anti-Trump demonstrators in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, and on the campuses of the American University in Texas and Washington, D.C., according to Heavy.
One student at the D.C. campus, Arielle Thomas, told WTTG that she thought burning the flag was unacceptable.
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"I understand that most students at AU are upset about the election results but that doesn't mean it’s OK to completely disrespect our country by burning the American flag," she said. "We need to unify the country, not further divide it."
The tactic of flag-burning is particularly salient because of what Trump has said about it in the past. Speaking to the Daily Caller in Sept. 2015, Trump indicated he thought the act should be made illegal.
"Personally, I don't think it should be legal," he said. "Let me ask you a question. It didn't used to be legal, did it? I see more and more burning of the flag. Did it used to be legal?"
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Desecration of the flag has been a contentious issue throughout the history of the United States. In 1990, Congress rejected a Constitutional Amendment that would have allowed the government to punish individuals for physically desecrating the flag, on the grounds that such an amendment would violate free speech, according to the website U.S. History.
Even so, Trump implied that burning the flag amounts to treason.
"People burning the flag, I don't like them in this country," he said.
Many are speculating about which policy proposals Trump will actually pursue once president, and which were merely rhetoric. If he was serious about the comments he made to the Daily Caller, protesters burning the flag could find themselves in serious trouble.