NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (AP) — A “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, hoisted by veterans on public property in New York, has been ordered down because of its recent association with the tea party.

The veterans are threatening to sue. A prominent conservative law firm has taken up the case. Its chief counsel says the city of New Rochelle has violated equal protection and free speech.

The veterans say their decision to raise the flag at a city-owned armory had nothing to do with the tea party. The banner, known as the Gadsden flag, has represented America since the Revolution.

But the city manager says there were complaints that the flag makes a political statement that shouldn’t be allowed on public land. The City Council voted against a proposal to fly the flag again.

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