The flag atop the Princeton post office was replaced the day after the incident.                                (Similkameen Spotlight photo)

The flag atop the Princeton post office was replaced the day after the incident. (Similkameen Spotlight photo)

Princeton RCMP shut down main street as man protests Canada flag

Man was lying on the road, in the front of the post office

An outburst in front of the Princeton post office last week resulted in a new Canada flag being hung outside the building.

RCMP received a call about a man lying on Bridge Street, in the front of the post office, creating a disturbance.

“He was upset about the flag, and the condition of the flag,” said Sgt. Rob Hughes.

Police blocked off the street. As the responding officer, Hughes attempted to reason with the protester, who seemed to be in “extreme emotional distress.”

He said the man was yelling, called the flag a disgrace, and spoke of the First and Second World Wars.

Related: Canada’s flag was flown for first time 55 years ago today

The tattered and faded flag atop the three storey building had been a point of minor controversy for several weeks, with customers complaining to post office staff, commenting on social media, and calling the town hall.

The protester, who is from Alberta, told police he had visited the post office in September to complain, and was told the matter would be rectified. Hughes pointed out Canada Post only rents the bottom floor of the building.

Its employees, who wanted to replace the flag “with a new one ready in a bag,” were not granted safe access to the roof to make the switch.

The protester eventually fled into Lordco Auto Parts, nearby.

Hughes followed and was eventually able to persuade him to visit Princeton General Hospital.

The man, who was from Alberta, was taken into custody under the Mental Health Act and later released.

Hughes expressed satisfaction that the incident ended peacefully, and noted “there was a new flag the next day.”

National guidelines, available at the Government of Canada website, specify the flag must fly from all federal buildings, and never flown in a discoloured or tattered condition.

Related: Guidelines on how to fly the Canadian flag

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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