Disarm the NYPD, an anarchist group calling for an end to racism and police brutality in America, held an event in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn on Wednesday called "Burn the American Flags."
The event quickly sparked a counter-protest of conservatives, veterans, bikers, and some local neighborhood people.
Supporters of the flag descended on the park earlier in the evening, including retired Army veteran Mark Brummitt.
"All throughout history it's been the last flag on the battlefield that was still standing. Tonight we're going to make sure there's a flag standing," Brummitt told onlookers.
Local neighborhood residents joined in, including families and a man who identified himself as Leroy (no last name was given.)
Leroy was extremely supportive of the flag, so much so that he wrapped it around his head and began to sing God Bless America--though he forgot many of the words.
The Hallowed Sons of New York motorcycle club also rallied for the flag in the park, screaming, "You're not gonna burn my f--king flag!" and "bunch of f--king white liberal hipsters aren't going to touch my flag, I fought for this country."
About 100 supporters of the flag rallied together. As 7:30 pm, the planned meeting time for the flag-burning, came and went, no flag-burners showed up on the street corner.
Despite the fact that the actual flag-burners had not shown up, people critical of the government and the flag did attend. One woman named Amirah Phillips began screaming at the crowd, "F--k your flag."
"Cops are harassing black people. They harassed my son, asking him if he was in a gang. That's an insult to me and my child, why--cause he has melanin in his skin? It's worth more than gold, and you all better realize that," Phillips said to both detractors and supporters.
In the end, she was shouted down by flag supporters chanting "U-S-A," and left the scene in tears.
While flag supporters rallied in the corner of the park, about a half-dozen flag-burners moved their activities to the center of the park near the monument and set the flag on fire over a grill.
As the flag burned, they began yelling out the names of people who had been killed by the police, including Eric Garner, who died in a police chokehold last year.
One man supporting the flag approached the group, pushing or punching--depending on different eyewitness accounts--the people burning the flag, and pulled it away from the flames.
Tensions were high, and police tried to quell the situation.
Eventually police and flag supporters chased most of the flag-burners out of the park, around 8:20pm.