A teen Black Lives Matter protester is facing up to 18 months in prison after attempting to set the Union Flag on fire.
The incident took place during protests in central London where 19-year-old Astrophel Sang tried to burn the national flag of the United Kingdom.
As the teenager, who was participating in BLM protests, admitted, he attempted to set fire to the flag located at the Cenotaph.
As the Westminster Magistrates Court heard, the 19-year-old was enjoying the attention he was getting as other protesters encouraged him to burn the government flag.
After climbing on the Whitehall memorial, Sang pulled out his lighter in an attempt to set fire to the flame-retardant flag.
Following his actions, the protester was charged with attempted arson and brought to court. According to the reports, he now faces up to 18 months behind bars for his charge.
“On June 7, at approximately 8.40pm, City of London police were working alongside Metropolitan Police officers as a number of instances had happened because of the Black Lives Matter protest. A containment had been put in place in case of a breach of peace,” Komal Varsani, prosecuting, said.
“Demonstrators were showing aggressive behavior towards police and, as they reached the long side of the Cenotaph, missiles and bottles were being thrown at them.
“The defendant was at the front of the group, and he was being hostile and aggressive. They could see he was aggressive, confrontational, and was swinging his arms. The defendant had to be held back several times. He eventually calmed down and a police officer saw him climbing on top of the Cenotaph.”
As the prosecutor added, Sang pulled at the flag and showed it off to the protesters before attempting to burn it.
“While several people urged him to come down off the monument, others were encouraging him. The defendant had a lighter in his hand and tried to set fire to the flag. The flag was flame retardant. That is the only reason why it did not catch on fire,” Varsani added.
After the police closed in on the teenager, he allegedly refused to comply and step off the Cenotaph.
“The defendant reached to pull a lighter out a second time and only stopped when an officer said he will use any means to stop him from setting fire to the flags,” the prosecutor said.
“He was trying to wind up the crowd and enjoyed the attention, according to officer statements. The defendant then attempted to throw the Nike bag at one of his female friends who was also present. The bumbag was found to have contained several lighters.”
Defending, Nathaniel Wade said how the defendant “wants to apologize” as he claimed Sang feels regretful of his actions.
“It’s abundantly clear to anybody what an attack on the Cenotaph would mean, but perhaps not Mr Sang at that time,” he said.
“He wants to apologize, and ultimately that is what any court wants to hear, and that is the objective of the criminal justice system.”
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