Tense Moments Surrounding Flag Flap at Fourth of July Celebration

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Not all of the region's Fourth of July celebrations were in total harmony. Pullman, Wash., police spent part of their holiday investigating an incident involving the display of the U.S. flag by a group of what law enforcement said were "Middle Eastern people" during an Independence Day celebration.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that Pullman police received several complaints regarding a group of 10 or 12 individuals waving what "looked like a piece of plastic pipe with an American flag draped on one end and a foreign flag draped on the other." Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant said the foreign flag "was green with white letters on it."

"Someone described it as a jihadist flag, but I don't know what it was," Tennant told the Tribune. "They were twirling the flag and dancing and appeared to be taking part in the celebration."

Complainants told police that when they asked the celebrants what they were doing, one responded by saying, "Whatever the fuck I want. America doesn't help us. Why won't your president do something?"

Onlookers said they thought the group included foreign-exchange students at Washington State University.

But Tennant said no crime was being committed.

"They have the same free-speech rights as anyone else," said Tennant. "There were no acts on either side that amounted to violence."

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