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State officials in Virginia order large American flag taken down from construction site ahead of July Fourth

Virginia state officials ordered the removal of an American flag from the construction site of a new building in Richmond, citing concerns that the flag would become a “target” for protestors this Fourth of July.

The call from the Department of General Services reportedly angered a subcontractor whose company created the flag using tarps in celebration of Independence Day.

“When we saw the flag, we were concerned that it could become a target so we told the contractor to remove it,” a spokesperson for the department, Dena Potter, told The Washington Post in an email.

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The officials pointed to the recent protests targeting historical statues and monuments that represent what demonstrators say are a part of systemic racism in the U.S.

“Over the past month, we’ve seen buildings and structures around Capitol Square vandalized and flags, dumpsters, a bus and other items set ablaze during demonstrations around the city,” Potter said.

The flag was reportedly as tall as one story in a building and was to be mounted on top of what is a $300 million project in the city.

“Since when is this flag, on this weekend, IN THIS COUNTRY, a Target!!” Eric Winston from American Coatings Corp. wrote on Facebook. “Let me guess, if I had a black lives matter flag it would be ‘ok’!? [sic]”

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Winston said that the flag originally went up with the approval from Gilbane Building Company, the project’s general manager. The company then received a call from state officials requesting they take it down.

“The American Flag is a symbol of Freedom! Many men and women died to maintain this freedom, many more fought and still fight to keep this freedom, and you make us remove it??”

“I’m all for the freedoms and liberty’s [sic] we have in this country, Protest, sure. Take a knee during the national anthem, whatever floats your boat. Marry who you want, absolutely,” Winston added. “That’s what this flag represents!”

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Potter noted the city did not have any objections to the standard-size flag flying high on a crane but was worried the large flag was more accessible to protesters.

“Of course the safety of the workers on the job and the public is our No. 1 concern, but we also did not want to see the flag damaged in any way,” Potter told The Post.

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