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South Africa’s Equality Court on Wednesday restricted the display of the country’s old apartheid-era flag, ruling that its gratuitous use amounts to hate speech and racial discrimination.

Judge Phineas Mojapelo said the ruling was not a complete ban, saying use of the flag is protected by law for artistic, academic, journalistic or other purposes deemed in the public interest.

The judge criticized those who continued to wave the apartheid-era flag.

“Those who display the old flag choose deliberately to not only display the old flag, but also consciously and deliberately choose to not display the new, multiracial flag,” said Mojapelo. “They choose oppression over liberation.”

He said those who publicly display the flag should not be arrested, but should face deterrents such as fines or terms of community service.

The orange, white and blue flag of South Africa’s previous white-minority regime, which enforced the system of racial discrimination known as apartheid, was replaced by a new flag when the country achieved majority-rule democracy in 1994.

However, some conservatives and right-wing groups continued to display the apartheid-era flag, notably at political gatherings or sometimes during rugby matches.


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