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Black Lives Matter banner removed at US Embassy in Seoul

US embassy Black Lives Matter

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul removed a large Black Lives Matter banner from the building on Monday after President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly expressed their displeasure with it.

An LGBTQ flag which was hung from the building in late May to mark Pride Month was also removed. The department pointed out that the federal government does not promote donations to specific nonprofit organizations.

Coleman said the ambassador instructed the banner to be taken down to avoid the misunderstanding that US taxpayers' money is spent to benefit such organizations, but added it does not lessen the principle and ideals expressed.

The banner was displayed with the consent of U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris, who tweeted, "I believe in what President JFK said on June 10, 1963, at American University: 'If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.' United States of America is a free & diverse nation...from that diversity we gain our strength". "This in no way lessens the principles and ideals expressed by raising the banner, and the Embassy will look for other ways to convey fundamental American values in these times of difficulty at home".

Harris unfurled the banner amid fierce nationwide backlash to the administration's controversial responses to nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Pompeo had ordered that only the USA flag should fly from embassy flagpoles.

Mr. Harris was appointed to the ambassadorship by President Trump in 2018. The sign reads "Don't forget it".

After the banner was ordered down, William Coleman, the embassy spokesman, said Harris's reason for putting it up was to "communicate a message of solidarity with Americans concerned with racism, especially racial violence against African Americans" but said it was taken down to avoid the "misperception" that taxpayer dollars were used to support an organization.

© Provided by Associated Press A banner to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 Korean War is displayed after a "Black Lives Matter" banner was taken down, while protesters stage a rally demanding withdrawal of U.S. troops from Korea Peninsula, at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

But two days later the banner came down. They flooded right-wing hashtags and police apps with short video clips and memes of their K-pop stars.