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  • Many in the U.S. see the flag as a symbol of oppression and of a dark chapter in history.

    Many in the U.S. see the flag as a symbol of oppression and of a dark chapter in history. | Photo: AFP

Published 9 June 2020
Opinion

The Navy made the move amid protests across the United States sparked by the death of George Floyd.

The United States Navy is working to ban the Confederate battle flag from all public spaces on Navy installations, ships, and aircraft it was announced Tuesday, as the military and the country grapples with questions about racial inequality.

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The Navy made the move amid protests across the U.S. and other countries sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed on May 25 after four white police officers suffocated him for nearly nine minutes.

In a statement, the Navy said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday had directed his staff to begin drafting an order that would prohibit the flag “from all public spaces and work areas aboard Navy installations, ships, aircraft, and submarines.”

“The order is meant to ensure unit cohesion, preserve good order and discipline, and uphold the Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment,” the statement added.

The Navy’s move follows the Marine Corps order for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from all its installations, including a ban on depicting the flag on mugs and car bumpers.

"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 Corps said in a statement.

Since Floyd’s death, officials in the South - where Africans were enslaved until 1863 and suffered decades of racial discrimination - are now ordering the removal of monuments honoring the Confederacy, which defended slavery.

While some in the South see the flag as a source of pride and remembrance of its soldiers who died in the Civil War, many in the U.S. see it as a symbol of oppression and of a dark chapter in history.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate confirmed on Tuesday that General Charles Brown as the first Black military service chief, voting unanimously to make him chief of staff of the Air Force.

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