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126 Korean-owned shops suffer damage in US protests

Protesters kneel to demonstrate against the death of George Floyd near the US Capitol on Wednesday in Washington, DC (AFP-Yonhap)
Protesters kneel to demonstrate against the death of George Floyd near the US Capitol on Wednesday in Washington, DC (AFP-Yonhap)

More than 120 businesses owned by South Koreans in the US have suffered damage amid sweeping protests against police brutality and racism across the country, officials here said Thursday.

The Foreign Ministry said the number of Korean-operated stores reporting damage has continued to increase, numbering 126 across the US as of Thursday. Philadelphia was hit hardest with 56 cases, followed by Chicago (14), Minneapolis (10), St. Louis (10), six in Raleigh, North Carolina (six), and four each in Washington, New York City’s Bronx borough and Atlanta,

No casualties from the Korean community have been reported.

The ministry said it will closely cooperate with local diplomatic missions to secure safety of the nationals and minimize the damage.

Prime Minister Chung Se-kyun called Lee Soo-hyuck, South Korean ambassador to the US, Thursday morning to instruct local missions to extend “proactive” consular protection for Korean nationals and to cooperate closely with US authorities to prevent further harm to Koreans.

“The foremost importance is to prevent any harm to human life,” Chung told Lee.

Anti-racism demonstrators have taken to the streets across hundreds of US cities in all 50 states since last week, sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died May 25 in Minnesota after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes. Peaceful protests have taken place in many areas, but the looting of shops and vandalizing of property have also erupted, causing retailers and restaurants to suffer heavy damage.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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