It’s a battle flag once again, and a group of Granite State libertarians brought the fight to Nashua City Hall Monday.

The Pine Tree Flag, sometimes called the “Appeal to Heaven” flag, flew over the Battle of Bunker Hill as Gen. George Washington and American revolutionaries faced the British outside Boston. But when that flag was the subject of a citizens’ fly request, it was rejected by Gate City Mayor Jim Donchess.

As a result, Donchess’ rejection may have brought more attention to First Amendment constitutional rights than he bargained for.

On Monday, a group organized by the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire rallied outside Nashua City Hall to protest Donchess’ decision.

“Mayor Donchess’ censorship of the Pine Tree Flag demonstrates his hatred for New Hampshire values and its history. It also likely violates the First Amendment, since the Nashua government is picking and choosing what speech is allowed to be displayed using taxpayer dollars,” said organizer and UNH Law student Zephan Wood.

The flag, Wood noted, dates back to the Pine Tree Riot — an April 1772 act of resistance to British authority by American colonists in the town of Weare, N.H.

Donchess viewed the flag-flying issue differently.

“The reason we won’t fly this flag is that since the attack on the  (U.S.) Capitol it has become a symbol of violence against local, state and national government,” Donchess said.

Some legal experts believe Donchess’ stance puts the city, and its taxpayers, in financial jeopardy.

In March, pro-Christian activists successfully lobbied the city to fly a Christian flag above Nashua City Hall. The flag-flying event was attended by Boston-based Camp Constitution founder Hal Shurtleff, whose group won a landmark 9-0 U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2022 after Boston city officials rejected their citizen’s request. The city paid out more than $2 million to the Liberty Counsel, the pro-faith nonprofit who brought the suit.

Nashua has the same citizen flag-flying policy. Like Boston, Nashua has a policy encouraging citizens to submit flag-flying requests.

Yet Donchess on Monday claimed city officials were within their rights to reject Nashua resident Beth Scaer’s request to fly the Pine Tree Flag because, “we have that discretion.”

Scaer, who attended Monday’s flag protest, said she is “grateful this protest is bringing more attention to the erosion of our First Amendment rights.”

The pine tree has been a political symbol in New England for at least 250 years, including the pine cone currently on top of the Massachusetts state house. But critics of the conservative majority on the Supreme Court, including writers at the The New York Times and other left-leaning news outlets are trying to use the flag to attack Justice Samuel Alito. The Times turned the fact that Alito flew the Pine Tree flag over the family’s New Jersey beach house into major headlines.

However, the City of San Francisco, known for its aggressive progressive policies and history of Democratic Party dominance, had flown the same flag on city hall grounds for upwards of six decades until its removal late last month following The New York Times’ expose.