12 Apr 2012

Samoan man arrested for burning flag outside government building

10:52 am on 12 April 2012

A man in Samoa has been arrested after burning the national flag in front of the government buildings in Apia.

The 31-year-old unemployed man is in police custody facing a charge of wilful damage to the flag which carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail plus fines if found guilty.

Our correspondent Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says the man, who was dressed all in white, apparently became angry after failing to see the Prime Minister.

"After going to see the secretary for the third time, he came back, went straight to the front of the government building at the reclaim area in downtown Apia, lowered the flag and took the flag and burnt it partly. Luckily the security officers for the government complex were quickly trying to stop what he did."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia says it is the first time in Samoa someone has been charged with burning the flag which is ceremoniously hoisted and lowered twice daily by police.