Unauthorized flag flies over Christiansted for second time

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ST. CROIX - For the second time in as many weeks, government officials have been called to remove an unauthorized flag posted on one of the poles on the lookout along the Christiansted Bypass.

The bright yellow flag with a coiled rattlesnake and the words "Don't tread on me" is a replica of a historic 1775 flag, known as the Gadsden flag.

It symbolizes independence and frequently is used by people participating in anti-tax tea parties or who want to send a message to government about infringing on the rights of citizens. To those displaying the Gadsden flag, it symbolizes their commitment to the freedoms and values upon which the country was founded.

The unauthorized yellow flag was removed Monday, and government officials said hoisting any unauthorized flag on the flagpole is illegal and could lead to arrests and prosecution.

St. Croix Administrator Dodson James said Monday that he received several calls reporting the yellow flag flying over the town and wants to send a clear message that it is illegal and will not be tolerated.

"There is no justification for posting any unauthorized flags on a government flag pole," he said. "That is government property, and proper authorization has to be given before any flags other than our nation's flag and our territory's flag can be flown."

James said he will meet with officials from the V.I. Public Works Department and from the V.I. Police Department to discuss a plan of action to ensure that the people responsible for raising the unauthorized flag stop doing so.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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