Officials in a northern California city on Saturday ordered the removal of a “White Lives Matter” banner that was displayed on city property, declaring it “racist” and a “despicable act of vandalism.”
The incident took place in Union City, a town of about 75,000 people, about 20 miles south of Oakland.
“The city is disgusted by this despicable act of vandalism that occurred in the wake of the insurgency on the U.S. Capitol last week,” according to a city statement, according to Bay Area FOX 2, “and over the week -end of the Martin Feast of Luther King Jr. which celebrates the life and achievements of this important civil rights leader. “
The white banner with black letters was hung between two poles at a busy intersection in the city, but was removed soon after city officials learned of it, with a complaint filed with the police, reported KPIX-TV from the Bay Area.
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Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci and Human Resources Commission Chairman Kashmir Singh Shahi also denounced the banner in a video posted online.
“It is despicable and we took it off immediately,” the mayor said in the video, referring to the banner.
“It has shocked me and I hope this is an isolated incident as it does not reflect the community in my town, the town of Union City,” Shahi said.
“This incident unfortunately shows how divisions at the national level can permeate even our community,” the city statement added, according to FOX 2.
Advocacy groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, have described “White Lives Matter” as a white supremacist slogan adopted in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the East Bay Times reported.
Earlier this month, Proud Boys frontman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio pleaded not guilty to charges related to the burning of a “Black Lives Matter” banner in Washington, DC, in December.
Tarrio was released in his own engagement and ordered to stay out of Washington until his next court appearance on June 8.
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In June, President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly ordered the removal of a “Black Lives Matter” banner from outside the United States Embassy in South Korea that was displayed shortly after the ceremony. death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis.
The banner was commissioned by Harry Harris, the American ambassador appointed by Trump to South Korea.
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and Jake Gibson contributed to this story.