In trying to celebrate diversity, Rockville creates flag controversy

In this June 1, 2016 photo, flags of some of the 193 countries fly in the breeze in front of the Secretariat building of the United Nations. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) -- A decision to fly the flags of all United Nations member countries in a Maryland city has led to public outcry.

Rockville officials decided to fly the flags of all 193 member countries on its downtown light poles to affirm the city's commitment to inclusion after a spike in hate crimes over the winter.

The Washington Post reports multiple protests ensued, with the loudest response coming from Montgomery County's Vietnamese community.

Diane Vu, Montgomery County's liaison for Asian communities, says for many Vietnamese Americans the communist flag evokes memories of the war's brutal aftermath.

Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton says the flag program isn't intended to endorse any government or political system. Newton says the effort may need tweaks and the city is reevaluating flying both Vietnamese flags.

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