Protesters took down a flag outside a county building and replaced it with their own

Officials say it was up for less than 30 minutes.
Publish date:

Protesters took down a county flag flying outside the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility, and replaced it with a flag of their own.

It happened during the anti-racism protest in Minneapolis Monday evening, which was organized to show solidarity with the Charlottesville counter-protesters.

The march had wound its way through the streets to the Hennepin County facility on 4th Avenue South and 5th Street South (across from City Hall).

Shortly before 7 p.m., some of the demonstrators lowered the county flag that flies on one of the three flagpoles outside the building, said Carolyn Marinan, a public relations officer with Hennepin County. 

In its place the demonstrators raised their own protest flag.

Marinan told GoMN they were monitoring the protest from a security center as this was happening. After less than a half hour the march cleared out, and the county took down the protesters' flag and replaced it with the correct one, she said.

The county flag that was taken down was damaged and looked like it'd been burned, Mike Sable, director of facility services with Hennepin County, told GoMN. But it wasn't destroyed.

(GoMN reached out to the Minneapolis Fire Department about the burning, and will update this post when we hear back.)

The one put up after protesters left was a spare, Sable added.

Twitter user haut3damn was tweeting from the march, and posted photos of the protesters' flag at the top of the flagpole:

There's also Twitter video of the flag being raised:

Haut3damn also said the county flag that was taken down was set on fire:

(Note: We reached out to haut3damn to get more info, but haven't heard back.)

People protest at the building all the time and they allow it, Marinan said, as long as demonstrators don't interfere with other people or damage property.

The county is still figuring out if anything was damaged

The flag protesters raised is being referred to as an "Antifa" flag – a shorthand term meaning anti-fascist, generally used to describe liberal activists and protesters.

The flag raising in Minneapolis was picked up by conservative sites like The_Donald subreddit and The Gateway Pundit.

Nobody was arrested during the march, and a Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson confirmed to GoMN nobody was cited either – so nothing for property damage or something else related to the flag.

Sable told GoMN they haven't taken it to police at this point "because we don't have enough evidence that anything is broken."

The flagpole itself wasn't damaged; it's all open, nothing is locked. 

While the one flag was burned, Sable said finding out exactly who is responsible "would take us kind of a long time." And they might do a bunch of digging and never even figure it out.

"We just have to judge what's the value to the taxpayer in terms of pursuing that," he said.

Not that the county is totally OK with the behavior. 

"That's not their right or privilege to walk on to property ... and start messing around with stuff," Marinan said. "We don't condone that."

Next Up