An Iowa man was arrested Thursday and was charged with desecrating the U.S. flag after hanging it upside down beneath a Chinese flag in protest at his home.

The Fort Dodge Messenger reported that Homer Martz, an Army veteran, of Somers, put up the flag to protest an oil pipeline being built without his consent next to a well that supplies water to his home. Martz said he was arrested at by Calhoun County sheriffs at around 11 a.m.

“They said, ‘You can’t do this. We have a statute.’ I said I’m sorry but you shouldn’t have took them down,” Martz told The Messenger. “So I walked back out and put them back up, and they arrested me.”

Calhoun County Attorney Tina Meth-Farrington said that Martz faces simple misdemeanor and if convicted he could get a fine and at least 30 days in jail for a desecration charge.

Martz said he didn’t know he was breaking the law. According to Iowa code 718A, Martz was charged with a misdemeanor because he tried to “publicly mutilate, deface, defile or defy, trample upon, cast contempt upon, satirize, deride or burlesque, either by words or act, such flag, standard, color, ensign, shield, or other insignia of the United States, or flag, ensign, great seal, or other insignia of this state.”

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