'Black Lives Matter' banner removed at U.S. embassy in South Korea after Trump displeased: sources
SEOUL / WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A large banner that read "Black Lives Matter" on the outside of the US Embassy in Seoul was removed on Monday after President Donald Trump expressed his displeasure, two people familiar with the matter said People.
The banner was posted on the front of the mission building on Saturday when the embassy tweeted police custody of a message in support of the anti-racism campaign in the US and worldwide in response to the murder of African American George Floyd last month in Minneapolis.
Trump, who responded to street protests by declaring himself President of "Law and Order" and calling on local US authorities to act, was unhappy about the banner when he found out about it, the two sources said on condition of Anonymity.
The White House and the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The banner was viewed by a Trump official as a rare demonstration of overt support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris had ordered it to be draped over the embassy.
After the banner was removed, the spokesman for the embassy, William Coleman, repeated that Harris' reason for the lineup was "to convey a message of solidarity with Americans who deal with racism." But he added, "The ambassador had no intention of supporting or promoting donations to a particular organization."
"In order to avoid the misperception that American taxpayers' money was spent in favor of such organizations, he instructed to remove the banner," said Coleman, adding, "this in no way detracts from the principles and ideals of raising the banner to be expressed. "
Bloomberg News previously reported that both Trump and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were dissatisfied with the banner.
Harris, a 40-year-old Navy veteran who started in Seoul in 2018, said privately that he plans to leave his position before the end of the year.
(Reporting on Josh Smith in Seoul, Steve Holland and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; writing by Matt Spetalnick; editing by Howard Goller)
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