St. Petersburg Times
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Ribbon ban infuriates N.J. town

©Associated Press
April 4, 2003

FIELDSBORO, N.J. -- Yellow ribbons and all other private displays have been banned from public property here, a decision that has drawn criticism from residents and business owners who want to show their support for American troops fighting in Iraq.

The Fieldsboro Borough Council approved the ban last month. Mayor Edward "Buddy" Tyler said it does not prohibit residents from placing memorials on their own property.

A candlelight vigil and protest are planned. The town's sole police officer has called state police for help with the expected crowds.

Meanwhile, the mayor appears to be backing down.

Tyler said people could get permission before tacking up troop-supporting ribbons if such symbols don't pose a safety hazard and aren't aesthetically objectionable.

The ban was intended to keep public property free of political messages. Backers said they passed the law to ensure controversial symbols, such as Confederate or Nazi flags, didn't appear on public property.

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