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UNITED STATES: Free "Speech"--Flag Burning, an Argentine Perspective

Raul Estrada-Oyuela, an Argentine diplomat, is bemused by the dispute among other WAISers over flag-burning:

"American citizens burning the American flag is an American issue. We all have seen the burning of American flags during anti-American riots in different countries around the world, but I do not remember citizens of other nationalities burning their own national flags.

In June 1955 the Peronist authorities claimed that an opposition group demonstrating in front of the main entrance of Congress had burned an Argentine flag. That was the worst possible offense to all Argentineans, but it was a false charge. In fact, I was there and we were trying to put out the flame of a votive lamp lit by Peron a few years before. In the process we accidentally burned the raincoat of one of us. In order to support the Peronist accusation, an Argentine flag was burned in the 6th Precinct of the Federal Police. This was investigated, and the policemen involved in the burning of the flag were punished.

Since then we have a lot of political turbulence to put it politely , but I do not remember one single case where the Argentine flag was burned by Argentineans."

Ronald Hilton - 8/02/00