Two weeks after the deadly Capitol riot saw Confederate flags being carried through the halls of the U.S. Capitol building, a Confederate flag flown in an English harbor prompted calls to police. On Monday, authorities in Sussex received a call from a concerned citizen reporting that the controversial flag was spotted at the Hastings Motor Boat and Yacht Club.
The flag was spotted on the evening of Monday, Jan. 18, the day on which the late civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. is honored. The person who spotted the flag, who asked not to be identified, said she was "disgusted and shocked" to see a "representation of hatred, slavery and white supremacy" displayed in Hastings, the Hastings & St. Leonard Observer reporter. The concerned citizen said the appearance of the flag was particularly disturbing given that it was Martin Luther King Day.
In a statement, Sussex Police confirmed that they had received a report of the Confederate flag being flown. On Tuesday, authorities said they were "contacted by a member of the public" just a day prior "who wanted to report a flag being flown at a premises on Rock-a-Nore Road, Hastings." The report stated the flag was "causing offence to other members of the public." The statement added that officers "have since looked into the matter," though "no crime has been identified." It went on to state that "efforts are ongoing to engage with the occupants of the building to advise them of the concerns from the public." The Hastings Borough Council, meanwhile, confirmed that it was aware of the flag on Hastings seafront. The council has reportedly been "in touch" with the Hastings Motor Boat and Yacht Club and is "asking them to contact the boat owner and remove the flag."
The Confederate flag is highly controversial, as it is seen as a symbol of white supremacy. Increased spotlight was put on the flag over the summer amid the Black Lives Matter protests in response to the police killings of several Black Americans, with increased pressure for the flag, as well as other Confederate monuments to be removed. In July, the Pentagon enacted a new policy banning displays of the Confederate flag on US military bases. NASCAR also banned the flag. In November, the state of Mississippi unveiled a new state flag after lawmakers pushed for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Mississippi state flag.
Most recently, the Confederate flag was put back into the spotlight amid the insurrection of the Capitol, which left five people dead. As lawmakers, staff, and journalists went into lockdown, a rioter was photographed walking through the Capitol with the flag, marking the first time the flag had been flown in the Capitol. At the time, CNN reported that prior to the Capitol riot, insurgents waving Confederate flags hadn’t been within six miles of the U.S. Capitol.