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Photo: Golli.

Police Apprehend Flag Flown at Night

Capital area police in Kópavogur received a dispatch call on Thursday night, calling their attention to a clear violation of the law: an Icelandic flag being flown at night.

When the flag may be flown

According to Article 3 of a presidential decree on what days and times the flag may be flown, the Icelandic flag must not be raised any later than sunset. Naturally, this decree assumes that during some parts of the year there is no sunset, as this law also stipulates that the flag must not be flying later than midnight under any circumstances.

Police reportedly arrived at the scene and investigated the matter, RÚV reports, finding the flag to be in clear contravention of this decree. The flag was remanded into custody.

Iceland’s flag laws

This decree also outlines on what days government buildings must raise the flag. These days include the major holidays, the sitting president’s birthday, and the birthday of Jónas Hallgrímsson, an Icelandic poet and writer who was also one of the philosophical leaders of Iceland’s independence movement in the 19th century. His birthday is also the Day of the Icelandic Tongue. The flag is to be flown at full mast on all of these days, with the exception of Good Friday, when it is flown at half mast.

Apart from this decree, there is a separate Law on the National Flag of Icelanders. This law is more detailed, as it outlines the specific dimensions of the flag and how it should be flown, as well as strict guidelines for what kinds of sold merchandise may bear the Icelandic flag.

In addition, Article 12 begins “no one may disrespect the national flag, neither in word nor in deed”. Violations of Article 12 may result in a fine, or even imprisonment for up to one year.

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