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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

US embassy removes Black Lives Matter banner in Seoul


US embassy removes Black Lives Matter banner  in Seoul









The US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, has removed a large banner for the Black Lives Matter movement after a request from State Department leadership and taken down a rainbow flag that celebrates LGBTQ pride.



Senior State Department leadership asked the embassy in Seoul to take down the Black Lives Matter sign that Ambassador Harry Harris had hung from the building's fa├žade Saturday, according to a source familiar with the issue. A spokesman for the embassy confirmed to CNN that the large Pride flag has also come down.



The request from the department's 7th floor -- where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's offices are located -- cited as its reason the fact that Black Lives Matter is a non-profit organization and that the US government does not encourage contributions to the group or promote any specific organization, the source said. It is not clear why the Pride flag -- which was hung in late May, according to the embassy's Facebook page -- was removed and no explanation has been offered yet.



The banners stood as a challenge to President Donald Trump and his administration at a time when they have been harshly criticized for their stand on racism and LGBTQ issues. The Pride flag was removed Monday night in Seoul, just hours before the Supreme Court ruled that a law banning sex-based job discrimination covers gay and transgender workers. On Friday, the administration erased protections prohibiting discrimination in health care for the LGBTQ community.



Harris posted the BLM sign as the administration has been under fire for its response to nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody. Trump has compounded anger about racial injustice with his decision to oppose a Pentagon proposal to start a conversation about renaming bases named after Confederate generals who celebrated slavery and owned slaves.









The administration's decision to disperse peaceful protesters outside the White House with tear gas, rubber bullets and violence so the President could stage a photo-op with a Bible outside a nearby church has raised questions about its commitment to freedom of assembly.








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