Burning national flags in Germany is now banned as it follows other European counterparts such as Spain in making it illegal.

Germany has made public burning of the EU flag or that of another country punishable by up to three years in jail, classing it as a hate crime.

The vote in the German parliment  on Thursday makes defiling foreign flags equal to the crime of defiling the German flag.

 

The move  to  the new lawfollowed Social Democrat (SPD) complaints about protesters’ burning of the Israeli flag in Berlin in 2017.

Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, a member of the centre-left SPD, said in a broacast “burning flags publicly has nothing to do with peaceful protests”. She said it stoked up “hatred, anger and aggression”, and hurt many people’s feelings.

The new law also applies to acts of defilement besides burning, such as publicly ripping a flag up. Public display of the Nazi swastika and other Nazi symbols is already banned in Germany.

The far-right Alternative for Germany  has condemned the new law as “excessive interference in free speech and artistic expression”.

France has made desecration of the tricolour punishable by a fine of up to €7,500 (£6,600; $8,000) or six months in jail.

Spain, Italy and Greece also have laws banning desecration of the national flag.

 


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