Photos: In Peru, fly the flag or pay up

Photos: In Peru, fly the flag or pay up
In this Aug. 1, 2013 photo, a Peruvian flag flies from the top of a shack on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
LIMA, Peru (AP) - Anyone traveling in Peru in recent weeks could easily have concluded it's among the world's most patriotic nations. Until they find out why the national flag is flapping virtually everywhere: Failing to fly the banner for Independence Day can bring a hefty fine.

Under a 1939 national law, Peruvian homes, businesses and institutions are required to fly the red-and-white standard from July 27 through July 30 to honor Independence Day, which falls on July 28.

But some municipalities require that the flag be flown for the entire month of July, or even longer. Enforcement varies from municipality to municipality.

There is uniformity neither in the specified time period nor in the penalty for non-compliance. Fines begin at about $20 and can run as high as $380, according to a 2011 study by the Peruvian Institute of Municipal Administration.

So, flags are everywhere.

And more often than not, they are affixed to roofs far from the street - where they can't be easily stolen.