fb-pixel Skip to main content

A Black Lives Matter banner was removed from the facade of the US Embassy in Seoul on Monday, two days after it was unfurled in a show of solidarity with the antiracism movement.

The banner and a smaller rainbow flag put up for gay pride month were replaced with a ‘‘We will not forget’’ banner, marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean War.

An embassy spokesman said US Ambassador Harry Harris, a retired Navy admiral, ordered it taken down to avoid the ‘‘misperception’’ that taxpayer dollars were used to support an organization.

‘‘The Ambassador decided to put the Black Lives Banner up to communicate a message of solidarity with Americans concerned with racism, especially racial violence against African Americans,’’ the spokesman said. ‘‘He wanted to highlight the enduring American values of racial equality, freedom of speech, and the right to peacefully protest.

Advertisement



‘‘However, the Ambassador’s intent was not to support or encourage donations to any specific organization. To avoid the misperception that American taxpayer dollars were spent to benefit such organizations, he directed that the banner be removed.’’

Bloomberg News reported that the banner was removed after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump expressed their disapproval upon seeing news coverage of the two-story-tall banner hanging behind the main flagpole displaying the US flag.

Washington Post

Johnson to create panel to battle racial inequality

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that he will establish a commission to look at what more can be done to fight racial inequality in the United Kingdom, a move that came after two weeks of protests spurred by the death of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Opponents accused the Conservative government of opting for talk rather than action.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Johnson said the body would look at “all aspects of inequality — in employment, in health outcomes, in academic, and all other walks of life.”

Advertisement



“What I really want to do as prime minister is change the narrative, so we stop the sense of victimization and discrimination,” he wrote.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in hundreds of demonstrations across the UK since Floyd was killed on May 25, demanding that Britain confront its own history of imperialism and racial inequality.

Johnson has repeatedly been accused over the years of making racist or offensive statements for which he has declined to apologize. He has called Papua New Guineans cannibals, used a derogatory term to refer to members of the Commonwealth, and compared Muslim women who wear face-covering veils to “letter boxes.”

Johnson said the new body would investigate “the discrimination that unquestionably exists” in society, and would look at areas including education, health, and criminal justice.

Soccer hooligans and far-right activists gathered near the Churchill statue on Saturday under the guise of guarding historic monuments. Antiracism protesters called off a planned march to avoid conflicts with them, leaving hundreds of largely white, male demonstrators to hurl objects and fight with police.

Associated Press

France considering stun guns for wider police use

PARIS — Less than a week after France banned police chokeholds, the government responded to growing officer discontent by announcing it would test stun guns for wider use, adding to the ranks of European law enforcement agencies that have recently adopted the weapons that many in the United States equate with excess police violence.

For Johny Louise, it felt as though the 22 seconds of Taser pulses that led to his son’s death counted for nothing.

Advertisement



“They need more death so that one day they understand, but it will be more pointless deaths and sufferings for families,” Louise said.

Gendarmes in Orléans responding to a drunken brawl tried to arrest his son, Loïc. One of the officers, Noham Cardoso, fired his Taser for the first time, hitting Loïc Louise in the chest with the twin darts and jolting him for a full 17 seconds, rather than the usual 5-second cycle, then hitting him again less than a minute later with another 5 seconds, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press. Loïc Louis, who was black, passed out and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Cardoso was charged last year with involuntary homicide in the Nov. 3, 2013, death. He has said Loïc Louise was aggressive and appeared ready to attack.

The officer’s lawyer, Ludovic de Villèle, can’t fathom why France would replace an immobilization technique with a weapon. He said it would make more sense to invent another technique to replace the banned chokehold.

“It’s a bad sign to say, ‘You can’t strangle, but here are Tasers for you to use,’” de Villèle said.

Associated Press

British on left, right praise ‘hero’ antiracism protester

LONDON — It is the photograph that has captured a hopeful, valiant, precise moment in a divided Britain — a powerfully built Black Lives Matter protester, a personal trainer and a grandfather, hoisting an injured far-right demonstrator onto his shoulder to rescue him from a violent scrum near Waterloo Bridge.

Advertisement



From Saturday’s melee in central London emerged Patrick Hutchinson, a black Briton, hailed as savior, carrying a white man, with shaved head and cut-off jeans, onto his shoulders in a firefighter’s lift.

The British tabloids, even the right-wing ones, called Hutchinson a ‘‘hero,’’ and accolades from politicians and ordinary folk poured forth on social media. In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4, Hutchinson said he arrived at the scene to see the man he rescued on the ground, under attack by counterprotesters.

Hutchinson and his mates formed a cordon around the man. ‘‘If the other three police officers that were standing around when George Floyd was murdered had thought about intervening, and stopping their colleague from doing what he was doing, like what we did, George Floyd would be alive today still,’’ Hutchinson said.

Washington Post