There were some tense moments Saturday at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Saturday as supporters and opponents of the toppling of a Confederate statute clashed a bit. A total of seven people were arrested as about a dozen people carrying Confederate flags were met by a larger group of counterprotesters.
“Three arrests were for assault, the fourth for destruction of property and the fifth arrest for resisting an officer. The sixth arrest was for assault, destruction of property and inciting a riot. We are awaiting information on charges for the seventh arrest,” the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill media relations office said.
Around 100 people attended the “highly charged” demonstration that came mere days after people yanked down a memorial known as “Silent Sam” from the university campus on Monday.
That protest was much larger and involved some 300 demonstrators who surrounded the memorial that was erected to honor soldiers of the pro-slavery Confederacy killed in the Civil War. The demonstrators used ropes to pull down the memorial.
The University of North Carolina on Friday had called on people not to participate in the event Saturday. In the end there was a heavy police presence, a few punches were thrown, and even an attempt to burn a Confederate flag that was stopped by law enforcement. But no one was seriously injured.
In a call with the media, UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said she won’t be rushed into a decision about what will happen to the statue. “I think we need to really look into that,” she said. “We’ve just had a lot of new information when the Historical Commission looked at the law and the timing of the law. So we’re certainly looking into all of those things and trying to really understand what it says, what it requires.” Folt made the statement shortly after a board member at the university said the statue needs to be restored within 90 days in accordance with state law. The UNC-Chapel Hill Police Department on Friday charged three people in connection with bringing down the statue.