US embassy in Seoul removes BLM banner

  • South Korea
  • Wednesday, 17 Jun 2020

Bold statement: The Black Lives Matter banner hanging outside the US Embassy in Seoul before it was removed. — AP

Seoul: The US embassy in South Korea has removed banners celebrating the Black Lives Matter movement and gay pride after running afoul of President Donald Trump’s administration.

The embassy had unfurled a banner on the building reading “Black Lives Matter” at the weekend in solidarity with the global movement that emerged after the killing of African American George Floyd.

In a Facebook message on Saturday, the embassy said the banner “shows our support for the fight against racial injustice and police brutality as we strive to be a more inclusive & just society”.

On Twitter, the US ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris said he believed that from “diversity we gain our strength” and quoted late president John F. Kennedy.

Harris is Japanese-American and previously told embassy staff that he was “deeply troubled about the events surrounding the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and the ongoing aftermath”.

“As an Asian American who was raised in the segregated South of the 1960s, I never thought I would see this happening again, especially in the 21st century, ” he added.

But the BLM banner was taken down on Monday, with CNN quoting an anonymous source as saying that the request came from the office of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The embassy also removed a rainbow flag, a symbol of the LGBTQ equality movement, hours before a landmark US Supreme Court decision that outlawed discrimination against workers based on sexual orientation.

Yesterday, a huge banner commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Korean War covered the space previously occupied by the two emblems, featuring a black and white photograph of a bugler in a military cemetery and a Korean-language message reading: “We don’t forget.” — AFP

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