Officials in North Andover, Massachusetts, on Monday approved a permit allowing the Palestinian flag to be flown in the North Andover Town Common area, according to reports.
The black, white, red and green flag was raised Tuesday morning and will remain in place until December 7, Boston 25 News reported.
Residents attended the board meeting, which had to be rescheduled due to reported “threats of litigation as well as public safety concerns,” for and against displaying the flag on city property.
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The news station reported that one resident, Salma Boulal, attended the meeting and said that if Israel can raise its flag in the shared North Andover area, the Palestinians deserve the same right.
To ensure the maintenance of order, the police were present at the meeting in large numbers.
City Manager Melissa Rodriguez reportedly said the request to raise the flag was submitted to the town on Oct. 16, about six hours before city officials updated its policy on raising flags.
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Before the change, the policy allowed a city resident to submit a request to fly the flag on the city’s flagpole.
The request led to the flagpole being considered for a public forum, although the subject of the flag could not be taken into consideration when reviewing an application submitted under the old policy, Rodriguez said.
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Under the new policy, the use of the flagpole is limited to government speech statements, the station reported, which is in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shurtleff v. Boston.
“Pursuant to the decision in the Shurtleff case, the town may not prohibit the flying of the flag based on its content, meaning or message,” Rodriguez wrote. “This limitation on the Select Board’s discretion indicates that denying a resident knowledge request under the previous policy exposes the City to risk of legal action.”
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The news station also reported that the town has allowed the Israeli flag to fly in the Town Common area since early October, when Hamas launched an attack on Israel.
North Andover is not the only city in Massachusetts that has agreed to fly the Palestinian flag in its public square. Last week, Worcester, the state’s second-largest city, raised the Palestinian flag in front of City Hall, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
As in North Andover, the Israeli flag was raised for a week in Worcester last month following the October 7 Hamas terror attacks in Israel.