The incident in question involved the Burns Night celebrations that year, in which the Martyrs raised and celebrated the traditional saltire flag of their ancestral Scotland. All national flags had been outlawed several years previously by Unity in order to encourage cohesion among its citizens. Nationalist celebrations were deemed to be isolationist and were treated with great suspicion; flying a flag other than that of Unity was considered treason.
Sympathy for the Martyrs was widespread but extremely subdued. It was not until the end of the century and the founding of Alba, the Caledonian insurgency group, that the outrage still simmering among the citizens of Caledonia was finally given a voice.