Members of a “black power” group doused an American flag in lighter fluid, burned it, and placed their fists over the charred remains outside the Los Angeles office of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) on Thursday after they seized the flag from a passing truck.
According to the Associated Press, the small group was there to support Waters and to counter-protest against a far-right group called the “Oath Keepers,” what had planned to rally against the congresswoman. However, the Oath Keepers called off its demonstration.
Waters has become the center of a national debate about civility in politics. Last month, Waters told a crowd of her supporters: “If you see anybody from that [Trump] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
Maxine Waters calls for attacks on Trump administration: "If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere." pic.twitter.com/jMV7wk48wM
— Ryan Saavedra 🇺🇸 (@RealSaavedra) June 24, 2018
The Oath Keepers reportedly called Waters a “protest terrorist inciter” and announced a protest against the congresswoman in front of her Los Angeles offices, over Twitter:
Oath Keepers CALL to ACTION: Protest Terrorist Inciter Maxine Waters, Thursday,, July 19. OATH KEEPERS, STAND AGAINST TERRORISM, STAND FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ASSOCIATION, IN SUPPORT OF ICE/BORDER PATROL AS THEY ENFORCE CONSTITUTIONAL IMMIGRATION LAWS. https://t.co/0KCTcEZuyi pic.twitter.com/o9YsJX75pq
— Oath Keepers (@Oathkeepers) July 17, 2018
However, the Los Angeles Times reported that “at 1 p.m., police at the protest site said authorities had been in contact with the group, and it had decided not to come in order to ensure peace.”
Meanwhile, outside Waters’s office on Thursday, two white men in a truck were stopped by the crowd and some of the protesters reportedly opened the doors, while one grabbed an American flag that was flying on a pole on the bed of the truck, prompting the driver to speed off for fear of their safety.
ABC 7 captured video showing the protesters burning the flag and adding a tree branch to make it burn more quickly. One man can be seen stomping on the burning pile:
There was no protest outside Maxine Waters office today. A group called #oathkeepers did not show up. Some counter protestors who came to support Waters burned an American flag in the street. #maxinewaters #flagburning #flag pic.twitter.com/pafH7nJrWL
— Carlos Granda (@abc7carlos) July 19, 2018
Another video shows the protesters shouting “America was never great!” and dancing around the flag as it burned:
‘protesters’ outside @RepMaxineWaters office after Oath Keepers rally was called off
they’re marching around a burning American flag and chanting ‘America was never great’ pic.twitter.com/49CR0JtQ1o
— Ian Michael Giatti ♻ (@IMGiatti) July 19, 2018
Other protesters in support of Waters at the event included the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers Local No. 36.
On Wednesday, Waters issued a statement in response to the Oath Keepers’ protest:
Please read my statement on the Oath Keepers' planned protest at my district office tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/1ZALWLaZJS
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) July 19, 2018