An Iowa FedEx driver captured national attention after rushing to extinguish an American flag set ablaze by protestors on Jan. 26.
Matt Uhrin ran to the flag with a fire extinguisher before getting into a fight at a protest against U.S. imperialism, as well as racial and social injustice, Iowa City Press Citizen reports.
While Uhrin has chosen not to comment — stating only that his actions do not reflect his employer — some are calling him a hero and condemning the protesters.
“Probably every one of them has a relative at one point or another that died for that,” onlooker Bob Guyer said of the flag. “That’s not free speech. Too many people have died for it.”
“What a patriot!!!,” chimed in another on Conservative Daily’s Facebook page. “Kudos to this man for standing up for the flag and what this country represents against hatred. Yet some of the protesters see things differently. “When I see the flag, I see racial injustice,” protester Paul Osgerby explained. “I see social injustice from Native American genocide to African-American slavery to failing to recognize women as citizens until the 20th century.”
Osgerby explains the protest was of special significance because of the Donald Trump presidency. “We are looking at fascism, and I believe that it’s my First Amendment right to protest that in a nonviolent way.”
Yet even some who are against Trump’s policies, such as one particular onlooker at the protest, disapprove of burning the flag, the Independent Journal reports.
“I don’t agree with Trump, no,” the onlooker said to the protestors in a video uploaded to Twitter by Iowa City Press-Citizen reporter, Stephen GruberMiller. “But this sh*t is not how you unite a country.”
Osgerby was one of two protestors charged with a misdemeanor for violating Iowa City’s public burn ordinance. They will either be fined up to $625 or spend one month in jail.