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An Air Force veteran and former Playboy model was arrested for taking an American flag from campus protesters who were trampling on it.
Michelle Manhart, 38, was handcuffed by police at Valdosta State University, Georgia, and driven off in a patrol car after grabbing the Stars and Stripes and refusing to return it to the student demonstrators.
Video footage of the event, on Friday, shows Manhart struggling with officers, who force her to the ground after she refuses to let the flag go.
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Struggle: Manhart, 38, is shown, left, refusing to release a flag which protesters were trampling on. In the right-hand photograph she is seen being arrested at Valdosta State University in Georgia
Cause: Manhart came to the campus because she heard students were walking on the flag, as seen above
It shows her surrounded by protesters on the campus, who demand their property be returned. In response, Manhart says the flag belongs to 'the entire United States'.
Campus police try to convince her to drop the flag, but Manhart, a former training sergeant who served in Kuwait, refuses.
Speaking to the Valdosta Daily Times about her intervention, she said: 'I did not want anything like this, but I got a call from a student who told me that the flag was on the ground, and they were walking on it.
'I was just going over there to pick up the flag off the ground. I don’t know what their cause is, but I went to pick it up because it doesn’t deserve to be on the ground.'
She continued: 'If your cause is racism then find some white people and walk on them.
'But to walk on the flag is walking on our symbol of freedom. You have the freedom to do what you are doing because of it. I’m not fighting against them. I’m fighting against the way they are going about it.'
It is not clear what the demonstrators were rallying against. They did not answer reporters' questions about what their cause was.
Air Force to bare force: Manhart was once a Staff Sergeant at the San Antonio Air Force training camp (right), but was demoted when she appeared nude in Playboy magazine. She is shown left holding a copy of the issue containing her spread
According to the Daily Times, the group didn't want to press charges against Manhart. However, police gave her a trespass warning, which bans her from the campus.
Manhart has come under fire for standing up for her beliefs before. In 2007 she made national headlines - and lost her job - for posing nude for Playboy magazine.
Explicit photographs from the periodical's February 2007 issue show then-Sergeant Manhart in a variety of provocative poses - first with, then later without - her military uniform.
Cover girl: After her original feature, Manhart appeared in Playboy again. She is shown here on the cover of the Mexican edition
When Air Force bosses got wind of the racy feature, they relieved her of her duties at the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
She was later demoted, and ultimately left the Air Force. However, she remained defiant, telling reporters at the time 'I didn't do anything wrong, so I didn't think it would be a major issue'.
The decision brought an end to 14 years of service
She later appeared in other editions of Playboy - including the cover of the Mexican edition - and posed for animal rights group Peta to support an anti-fur campaign.
The Daily Times reported that Manhart now intends to hold a pro-military counter-demonstration in the town on Wednesday.
In response to the incident, the university's president says he disapproves of the flag-trampling protest, but recognizes their right to express themselves that way if they choose.
Dr William McKinney said: 'The American flag represents everything that is best about our country. As the Supreme Court has held, one of those things is the right to free speech, which includes the right to disrespect even the symbol of our country.
'While I firmly disagree with the actions of the protesters, I understand their right to protest.'