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Marine Corps prohibits public displays of the Confederate battle flag

A Confederate flag is shown in this Jan. 31, 2009 file photo.

CARL WAINWRIGHT/CREATIVE COMMONS

By AARON KIDD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 6, 2020

The Marine Corps has banned most public displays of a controversial Confederate symbol, including on clothing, mugs and bumper stickers, at its installations worldwide.

“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the service’s official Twitter account tweeted Friday.

The move, announced in a Marine administrative message that day, says commanders “must exercise best judgement and discretion” when inspecting work spaces and public areas to find and remove depictions of the stars and bars.

However, they are not allowed to inspect barracks rooms or other living quarters, private vehicles, assigned desk drawers, cabinets and lockers, or backpacks.

The directive comes amid global outrage over the May 25 police killing of George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis. He died gasping that he couldn’t breathe as a white police officer kept his knee on his neck for several minutes.

Massive protests have spurred some government officials in several states to remove their Confederate monuments, including a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Va.

Marine Corps commandant Gen. David Berger addressed the unrest in a statement Wednesday.

“Current events are a stark reminder that it is not enough for us to remove symbols that cause division — rather, we also must strive to eliminate division itself,” he said.

The Marine directive does not apply to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia or other displays that “address the Civil War from a neutral, historical or educational perspective,” the message said.

kidd.aaron@stripes.com
Twitter: @kiddaaron

 

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