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Black Lives Matter banner removed from US Embassy in South Korea

US Embassy in Seoul hangs a "Black Lives Matter" banner on June 13, 2020. (US Embassy Seoul/Released)

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul on Saturday unfurled a large Black Lives Matter banner on the front facade of its diplomatic building to “stand in solidarity with fellow Americans grieving and peacefully protesting to demand positive change” following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody last month.

By Monday, according to photos published on social media, the banner, and a separate flag recognizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, was gone.

Neither the U.S. State Department nor the U.S. Embassy in Seoul returned a request for comment on why the banners were apparently abruptly taken down. As of midday on Monday, both banners were continuing to be featured on the embassy’s website.

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However, reports from Bloomberg and CNN, citing people familiar with the matter, said the Black Lives Matter banner was taken down after it was brought to the attention of President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Bloomberg’s report did not elaborate. CNN said the embassy received a request for it to be taken down by the State Department’s “seventh floor” – where Pompeo’s offices are located.

According to photos of the embassy posted on social media, the banners were replaced with a single one commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.

U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris, appointed by Trump, had previously ordered that the Black Lives Matter and Pride flags be draped on the embassy.

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© 2020 USA Today