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Trump rules out renaming US bases honouring Confederate leaders

This article is more than 12 months old

He praises the 'history of winning' of bases named after Confederate leaders

WASHINGTON : President Donald Trump on Wednesday ruled out renaming US military bases named after Civil War Confederate leaders, pushing back on pressure to rid public places of monuments honouring the once pro-slavery South.

"These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom," Mr Trump said in a tweet.

"My Administration will not even consider renaming these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations. Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with," he wrote.

"Respect our Military!"

The importance given by Mr Trump to keeping bases like Fort Bragg in North Carolina as they are was underlined by the decision of press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to read out the tweet and to give printed copies of it to White House reporters.

She called the push for change an "absolute non-starter".

Demand for renaming such installations has gathered momentum in the wake of mass protests across the US against police brutality and racism against African-Americans.

Ten bases honouring generals from the secessionist South, which lost the Civil War and its struggle to preserve slavery, are in the spotlight. They include the famous Fort Bragg, Fort Hood in Texas and Fort Benning in Georgia.

Anger from anti-racism protesters has also focused on statues of southern Civil War heroes, the Confederate flag, and most lately statues of explorer Christopher Columbus, who opened the Americas to European settlement.

BEHEADED

A statue of the navigator was beheaded in Boston, police said on Wednesday. Another was toppled in Virginia.

Similar attacks on statues of historical figures seen by activists as celebrating racism and slavery have taken place in Britain and Belgium.

The Navy, meanwhile, said that it was outlawing Confederate flags - still popular in southern states - aboard all its ships and other facilities.

"The order is meant to ensure unit cohesion, preserve good order and discipline, and uphold the Navy's core values of honour, courage and commitment," Admiral Michael Gilday said.

Meanwhile, a brother of Mr George Floyd took his grief to the US capital on Wednesday with an impassioned plea to Congress not to let his brother die in vain, lamenting that he "didn't deserve to die over US$20 (S$28)".

The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee held the first congressional hearing to examine issues underlying civil unrest - racial injustice and police brutality - that erupted following Mr Floyd'sdeath.

Mr Floyd was unarmed when taken into custody outside a corner market where an employee had reported that a man matching his description tried to pay for cigarettes with a counterfeit bill.

"George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over US$20. I'm asking you, is that what a black man's worth?

"$20? This is 2020. Enough is enough," Mr Philonise Floyd, 42, told the lawmakers. "It is on you to make sure his death is not in vain." - AFP, REUTERS

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