Public Debate and Safety Concerns Surround Approval
Written & Drafted By Shafeek Ahmad, Published On 14-November-2023, 09:03 PM EST.
North Andover, Massachusetts – In a decision met with both support and opposition, North Andover officials granted a permit on Monday allowing the display of a Palestinian flag on the North Andover Town Common. Reports from Boston 25 News indicate that the black, white, red, and green flag was hoisted on Tuesday morning and is slated to remain in place until December 7.
The approval process was not without its challenges. A board meeting, initially scheduled to address the matter, had to be rescheduled due to reported threats of litigation and concerns about public safety. Residents on both sides of the issue attended the meeting, expressing their views.
Salma Boulal, a resident in favor of displaying the flag, argued that if Israel can fly its flag in the North Andover common, Palestinians deserve the same right, as reported by the news station. To maintain order during the meeting, a significant police presence was observed.
According to Town Manager Melissa Rodrigues, the application to fly the Palestinian flag was submitted on October 16, approximately six hours before the town officials updated their policy on flag displays. The change in policy now restricts the use of the flagpole to statements of governmental speech, aligning with a U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shurtleff v. Boston.
Rodrigues highlighted the importance of adhering to the Shurtleff decision, stating that the town cannot deny a flag application based on its content, meaning, or message. The prior policy, allowing residents to apply to fly a flag without considering its subject, was deemed legally precarious.
The news station also reported that the town had allowed the display of an Israeli flag in the Town Common since early October, following the Hamas attack on Israel. This decision comes amid a broader context in Massachusetts, where Worcester, the state’s second-largest city, similarly flew the Palestinian flag in front of City Hall. The Israeli flag had also been displayed in Worcester for a week after the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel.
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Disclaimer:- This news article was written by the help of syndicated feed, Some of the content and drafting are made by the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) ChatGPT.
About the author: Shafeek Ahmad is a freelance writer passionate about business and entrepreneurship. He covers a wide range of topics related to the corporate world and startups. You can find more of his work on Howtobeaspoonie.com.