Over the weekend, dozens of individuals gathered around a Confederate statue on the campus of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. The statue, nicknamed “Silent Sam,” has been on campus since around 1913, but it has recently come under fire for being symbolic of a racist past. Some students came out to protest the statue, while others stood to show their support of the ancient statue.
Demonstrators had decided to come out because Silent Sam had been toppled over by protesters earlier in the week. Currently, Silent Sam remains in a temporary storage area. Some argued that the statue needed to be reinstated, but others wanted the statue removed for good. As the rally drew in more people, both he Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Charlotte Fire Department were called in to assist with crowd management.
University officials also worked to help contain the chaos, but things quickly spiraled out of control. One witness’s footage of the event showed one man attempting to burn a Confederate flag after taking it from another’s hands. The chaos resulted in at least seven arrests.
Protesters faced charges ranging from destruction of property, assault, inciting a riot and resisting an officer. None of the suspects who were arrested were affiliated with the university in any way. Thankfully, no serious injuries were reported during the incident.
Thom Goolsby, a UNC Board of Governors member, confirmed on social media that Silent Sam will be reinstated within the next 90 days. State law requires the statue’s reinstatement.