Safata man charged for burning Samoan flag

Government Building

Samoan flag in front of the Government Building

By Lagi Keresoma

A 31 year old man from Safata, Fa’atuai Paepae Lole has been charged by Police for burning the Samoan flag in-front of the Government around midday yesterday.

The Assistant Police Commissioner Leaupepe Fatu Pula confirmed the incident. He said  witnesses saw Fa’atuai walking up to the flag pole, pulled the flag down, lit it and then raised it again. He did not give any reasons behind Fa’atuai’s action as Fa’atuai has yet to give a statement to Police.

Fa’atuai is under police custody charged with destroying public property.

Witnesses said that Fa’atuai was well dressed and he was just like any other government official. There was nothing unusual about him until they saw the burning flag hanging from the pole.

Another eyewitness told Talamua that it took me a while for him to react. He said he has seen this kind of incident on television but never thought it could happen in Samoa.

“This guy’s action may seem funny but he had no right to burn the national flag,” he said.

Others believe Fa’atuai’s action was an insult to the people of Samoa and to those who fought for Samoa’s freedom.

Leaupepe said Police will request medical assistance as to the mans mental status.

“If Fa’atuai’s action was a protest against the Government, then he should have taken it up with the Prime Minister and not the flag,” said Leaupepe.

This is not the first tine the Samoan flag in-front of the Government building has been vandalized. Several years ago, another man pulled the flag down and cut it up with scissors. He was also arrested by Police.