Three people have been arrested as protesters clashed over the toppling of a Confederate statue on the University of North Carolina campus.
Police used pepper spray to maintain order as around 300 people gathered around the site where the Silent Sam statue had stood until it was brought down last week.
A few dozen pro-Sam activists faced off against a larger group who had organized a ‘dance party’ to celebrate the statue’s removal, officers said.
The statue was built as a monument to students who died fighting for the Confederacy, but has been the target of protests since the 60s for its racist history.
At its unveiling, UNC trustee Julian Carr gave a speech in which he talked about ‘the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race’ and ‘horse-whipping a negro wench.’
Three people were arrested as protesters faced off on the University of North Carolina campus after a statue commemorating students who fought for the Confederacy was toppled last week
Two people were arrested for affray while one was arrested for resisting and officer, the University of North Carolina said (pictured, a police officer grabs a protester, though it is not clear if the man was arrested)
Police separated activists chanting ‘go home Nazis’ from those waving banners saying ‘save our monuments’ as around 300 people gathered on campus on Thursday night
A few dozen pro-Sam activists faced off against a larger group who held a ‘dance party’ to celebrate the statue’s removal
Silent Sam has been a target for protests since the 1960s after UNC trustee Julian Carr gave a speech which talked about ‘the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race’ as it was unveiled in 1913
University spokeswoman Carly Miller said two people were arrested for affray, while a third was arrested for resisting an officer.
The university did not release their names, and did not say which side of the protests they were on.
Meanwhile a fourth person has been charged with helping to topple the statue.
The university released a new list Thursday of the current total of 14 people arrested in connection with two recent protests.
It says four people were charged with helping to topple the monument on August 20, while a fifth person was charged with wearing a mask before the statue fell.
The fourth person charged with misdemeanor counts of defacing a public monument and rioting is 18-year-old Margarita Sitterson.
Jonathan Fitzgerald Fuller, 27, Lauren Aucoin, 23, and Raul Mauro Arce Jimenez, 27, all were charged with the same offences last week.
Nine others were arrested during follow-up demonstrations near the statue’s empty pedestal on Saturday.
Jimenez appeared in court along with Fuller and Aucoin on Thursday, and spoke afterward to supporters outside the courthouse.
He argued that students had asked UNC leaders for a long time to move the statue that they say symbolizes racism, but they refused.
He said the community acted when university leaders wouldn’t, calling it a ‘righteous show of people power.’
Asked if he’s guilty of pulling the statue down, Jimenez said he and the other accused plan to fight the charges against them.
Student activists say they have been demanding the removal of the statue for years but were ignored, while those supporting Sam say their heritage is being destroyed
Pro-confederacy protestors receive a police escort through a shouting crowd to where the “Silent Sam” statue once stood before it’s toppling last week
Protesters holding up a sign which read BLM, an acronym for Black Lives Matter, stand in front of the empty Silent Sam plinth
Demonstrators cover their mouths after police used pepper spray to maintain order on Thursday night
A police officer was also disciplined over the protests after displaying a tattoo resembling an anti-government group’s logo.
Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil said Officer Cole Daniels was placed on administrative leave with pay, effective Monday.
He said people had raised concerns that Daniels displayed ‘a tattoo that is associated with the ‘3 Percenters”, considered to be an anti-government ‘patriot’ organization by The Southern Poverty Law Center.
The concerns caused police officials to wonder whether he could be an effective officer in the community.
An internal investigation will determine any disciplinary action.
Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue was also facing questions over why he ordered his officers to back off from protesters even as it became clear they were trying to remove the statue.
Publicly released documents show Blue, whose officers were assisting with crowd control on the day, ordered them to give the protesters ‘a lot of space’ and ‘stay way out’.
Another message from Blue told officers that they were too close to the demonstrators just moments before Sam was pulled from his pedestal.
Despite the statue being pulled down, Blue emailed officers the following day congratulating them on their work.
Pro-statue protesters are guarded by police as anti-statue activists shout ‘pigs in a pen’ and ‘go home Nazis’
A man yells threats as protesters clash during a rally regarding the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam
Police stand guard around the statue after it was pulled from its plinth during protests on Monday last week