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A solemn Anzac Day memorial service suddenly became a flashpoint when a proud mum attempted to display a flag honoring Aboriginal diggers at her local war memorial.

Cindy Roberts draped her Aboriginal flag alongside the Australian flag at half mast before the start of service in Lismore, in flood-ravaged northern New South Wales, on Monday.

But a local RSL member reportedly refused to let her go, arresting her twice and calling the police, sparking outrage among those present and online.

“It was a huge overreaction,” said former Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell, who saw the row unfold. “It was by no means a huge protest and it was done with respect.

Cindy Roberts (pictured) draped her Aboriginal flag alongside the Australian flag at half mast before the start of service in Lismore, in flood-ravaged northern New South Wales, on Monday

“It was embarrassing and awkward and he should have just been allowed to pass without a fuss with the RSL member.”

Ms Roberts – whose family, including her daughter, grandparents and uncles, have served the nation for generations – had previously taken part in the dawn service and attended the traditional walk to Lismore Memorial Baths for the ceremony commemorative.

But when it arrived, the only flag flying was the Australian flag, despite many other venues displaying the Aboriginal, Australian and Torres Strait flags side by side.

Ms Roberts' daughter Skye Roberts (pictured) was a ship's technician in the Australian Navy for five years and was with her mother at the memorial when the row broke out

Ms Roberts’ daughter Skye Roberts (pictured) was a ship’s technician in the Australian Navy for five years and was with her mother at the memorial when the row broke out

“I just wanted to remember my ancestors who had fought in all wars including the border war,” she told Daily Mail Australia.

“So I got up and felt a spirit on my heart telling me to just put the flag down. I didn’t put it on the mast, I just put it on the ground under the Australian flag.

“Then I was approached by a member of the RSL and asked to remove the flag.

“I said, ‘But my grandfathers, my uncles and my ancestors fought in the wars of this country.’ He said, “Now is not the time or the place.”

‘I was thinking. “Well, when is it time to bring unity?”

The only flag flown in Lismore's service was the Australian flag, despite many other sites displaying the Aboriginal, Australian and Torres Strait flags side by side.

The only flag flown in Lismore’s service was the Australian flag, despite many other sites displaying the Aboriginal, Australian and Torres Strait flags side by side.

She added: “I picked up the flag and walked over to where the wreaths were being laid.

“Then he approached me again and told me to take the flag down again and with the police this time.

One of their great-uncles was the famous Aboriginal World War II soldier, Clarrie Combo, who fought for Australia in Egypt, Libya, Crete, Syria, Greece, Sri Lanka and New -Guinea.

One of their great-uncles was the famous Aboriginal World War II soldier, Clarrie Combo, who fought for Australia in Egypt, Libya, Crete, Syria, Greece, Sri Lanka and New -Guinea.

“When it happened, I cried. I collapsed and everyone saw me, but I was still standing there in the crowd behind the kids with the Aboriginal flag.

Ms Roberts’ daughter Skye was a ship’s technician in the Australian Navy for five years and was with her mother at the memorial when the row broke out.

One of their great-uncles was the famous Aboriginal World War II soldier, Clarrie Combo, who fought for Australia in Egypt, Libya, Crete, Syria, Greece, Sri Lanka and New -Guinea.

“Our people have been through so much and I’m sick of them not being recognized,” Ms Roberts said.

“First Nations people who fought in these wars deserve more respect because they are putting their lives on the line.”

Former Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell (pictured) called the RSL member's response an overreaction and said Ms Roberts' actions were done with respect

Former Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell (pictured) called the RSL member’s response an overreaction and said Ms Roberts’ actions were done with respect

Ms Dowell said she did not understand why Ms Roberts was being treated the way she was as she unsuccessfully tried to reason with the RSL member.

“I saw the reaction of an RSL member repeatedly saying, it’s not appropriate, it’s not appropriate,” she told Daily Mail Australia.

“I wasn’t sure what wasn’t appropriate. I thought that was very disappointing – and not a single speaker in the whole ceremony even acknowledged the country.

‘I thought it was poor. The situation could have easily escalated had Cindy chosen to do so, but she didn’t and many may not even have noticed.

“I thought she was very respectful and I hope we can all learn from this incident – and it won’t happen again.”

Local RSL chairman Wilson McClelland said to himself

Local RSL chairman Wilson McClelland said he was “extremely disappointed” with the incident

RSL chairman McClelland said he had been banned from discussing the incident.

But he told Daily Mail Australia: ‘I’m hugely disappointed with it all.

“The people who created this problem have no idea how much work it took to get that day out for the Lismore community yesterday.

“That’s all I’m saying.

A media statement from RSL NSW in 2020 appeared to encourage all flags to be flown together.

“The use and placement of flags at memorial services by RSL NSW follow Australian National Flag protocols, which include the display of the Australian Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag,” it says.

Acting RSL NSW Chairman Ray James said at the time: “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen have proudly served in conflicts alongside their fellow Australians throughout our history.

“They are recognized as veterans on ANZAC Day and at all other commemorations throughout the year.”

Details of the outbreak emerged on the town's Facebook group, sparking fury from many in the local community who supported Ms Roberts

Details of the outbreak emerged on the town’s Facebook group, sparking fury from many in the local community who supported Ms Roberts

Details of the outbreak emerged on the town’s Facebook group, sparking fury from many in the local community who supported Ms Roberts.

“To the beautiful Indigenous woman advocating to raise the Indigenous flag today at the after march service, I am beyond apologetic for the complete disrespect shown to you,” one local said.

“So glad someone else recognized and saw this woman,” wrote another. “My 11 year old saw the multiple ‘confrontations’ and was so confused as to what the problem was and thought the man was extremely rude.

“To the wife – we’re both sorry this happened to you today.”

Another said: ‘I’m so sorry come. It was so disrespectful to ask you to remove the flag.

“My children and I were so upset by the blatant refusal to recognize our First Nations people today.”

A few, however, insisted that the soldiers had all fought under the Australian flag in wartime and that the flag should cover everyone.

A few, however, insisted that the soldiers had all fought under the Australian flag in wartime and that the flag should cover everyone.

A few, however, insisted that the soldiers had all fought under the Australian flag in wartime and that this flag should cover everyone.

“The thing is, there is a protocol. The Aboriginal flag hasn’t been around that long,” one added. “Soldiers, etc., did not fly this flag in battle. This is not a matter that is resolved on the public highway.

Another said: “They fought under the Australian flag. We are all Australians.

RSL NSW did not respond to repeated calls from Daily Mail Australia.