WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) banned display of the Confederate flag at its military installations Friday, on everything from bumper stickers to coffee mugs.
"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 branch said in a statement. Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society."
“This presents a threat to our core values, unit cohesion, security and good order and discipline,” the statement read.
A message from the Commandment of the Marine Corps and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps released a statement on this new guidance June 4 that alluded to "current events" that are "a stark reminder that it is not enough for us to remove symbols that cause division."
The Confederate flag is now banned from display on public and workspaces in any capacity-- bumper stickers, clothing, mugs, posters, flags, etc. It is not banned where “it is depicted, but not the main focus,” such as works of art or educational or historical displays of Civil War battles. It is also allowed on state-issued license plates and confederate soldiers’ gravesites.
The flag banning follows nearly 10 days of protests across the country following the death of George Floyd. They have spurred the removal of symbols of those who fought in the Civil War on the side of the slavery-backing Confederacy, with the governors of Virginia and Kentucky announcing they will remove confederate statues.
Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after former Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, pinned him down and pressed on Floyd’s neck with his knee as the man pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.
Widely seen cellphone video showed that a white officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes while Floyd, who was handcuffed, pleaded for air and eventually stopped moving.
Chauvin now faces murder and manslaughter charges. The three other officers who took part in the arrest were fired but haven't been charged. Floyd's death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.
In April, Marine Corps commandant Gen. David Berger penned a memo saying "anything that divides us, anything that threatens team cohesion must be addressed head-on."
"I am mindful that many people believe that flag to be a symbol of heritage or regional pride," Berger added. "But I am also mindful of the feelings of pain and rejection of those who inherited the cultural memory and present effects of the scourge of slavery in our country."
For years, local and state governments have hotly debated — and often relocated — many Confederate-era flags and other monuments from sites around the U.S. Critics say the Confederate flag is a racist symbol, recalling past discrimination and slavery. Supporters say such symbols merely reflect Southern history.
A huge Confederate battle flag has been lowered from its towering pole near Interstates 4 and 75 outside Tampa after threats appeared on social media to set it on fire during protests of the killings of black people by white authorities.
A local official in Kentucky has ordered the removal of a Confederate flag outside a county courthouse that has drawn criticism for weeks since its recent placement there.
According to The Paducah Sun, Marshall County Judge-Executive Kevin Neal said Friday the intent in displaying the flag wasn’t to offend anyone, although many expressed that was the unintended effect.
“We value the thoughts and opinions of our citizens when dealing with controversial issues which has led us to taking down the flags (Friday) and letting the Fiscal Court discuss the proper location,” Neal said in the statement Friday.
The Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this report.