Silent Sam, a controversial Confederate statue that was located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, was torn down by protesters on Monday night. The statue came down around 9:30 p.m.
Over 300 protestors showed up to the rally at the base of the Silent Sam statue around 7 p.m. EST on Monday, August 20. During the protest, the crowd was heard chanting “Tar Heels!” and “Whose Campus? Our Campus!”.
Prior to Monday night, the “Silent Sam” statue had been standing on the UNC campus since 1913.
During the course of the protest, one person was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and for concealing one’s face during a public rally.
Protesters first sectioned off the area around the controversial statue with large banners, blocking it from view. Throughout the course of the evening, people in the crowd speculated about what might be going on behind the banners, but no one confessed to knowing the plan.
People chanted “stand up, fight back” and “hey, hey, ho, ho, this racist statue has got to go.” Many also held signs.
Around 9 p.m., protesters left the base of “Silent Sam” and marched to Franklin Street, where they formed a large circle in the street, briefly blocking the intersection of Franklin and Columbia.
The march continued down Franklin Street and ended back at the base of “Silent Sam.” Soon after, the Confederate statue came crashing down. Once it was on the ground, protesters were shoveling dirt on top of it and stomping on it.
Breaking overnight: Hundreds of protesters gather around 105-year-old Confederate statue at the University of North Carolina and then proceed to knock it over. pic.twitter.com/DiqHb4FDRc
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 21, 2018
Following the protest, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued a statement saying that he “understands that many people are frustrated by the pace of change and he shares their frustration, but violent destruction of public property has no place in our communities.”
The University of North Carolina also issued a statement Monday night, calling the actions of the protesters “dangerous”:
Dear Carolina Community,
As you are probably aware, a group from among an estimated 250 protestors brought down the Confederate Monument on our campus last night.
The monument has been divisive for years, and its presence has been a source of frustration for many people not only on our campus but throughout the community.
However, last night’s actions were unlawful and dangerous, and we are very fortunate that no one was injured. The police are investigting the vandalism and assessing the full extent of the damage.
I appreciate the actions taken by the police to ensure the community’s safety and will keep you informed as additional information is available.
Carol L. Folt.
— UNC-Chapel Hill (@UNC) August 21, 2018