Germany has passed legislation making it a hate crime to burn the flag of the European Union (EU), or any national flag.

Earlier this month, the Bundestag, the German Parliament, voted in favour of legislation making it illegal to desecrate particular pieces of cloth. The legislation also applies to the EU’s anthem, Ode to Joy, by the composer, Beethoven.

The legislature decided to pass the law following lobbying by the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which had said that the burning of flags had no place in peaceful protests.

Parliamentary opposition to the legislation came from opposite sides of the German political spectrum. Both the Left and Alternative for Germany, a right-wing Eurosceptic party, came out against the new law.

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