At least seven arrests were made on Saturday during a rally over the recent toppling of the Confederate statue “Silent Sam” at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, CNN reported.
Opponents and supporters of the monument gathered in McCorkle Place to express their warring views on the matter. During the rally, however, seven protesters were arrested on a multitude of charges.
According to UNC, “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.”
Saturday’s rally comes as a direct result of the university’s latest incident on Monday, in which over 250 students assembled to protest and knock over, or topple, the Confederate monument.
On Saturday, however, protesters returned to the statue’s now vacant spot, holding banners and chanting. Others held Confederate flags. WTVD reported that protesters created a makeshift barrier around the statue’s former site and shouted, “Hey hey ho ho, white supremacy has got to go.”
In anticipation of the event, the university released a statement on Friday urging students not to attend the rally, citing a fear of violence. “We do not know for sure what groups may attend,” the statement read, “but we are mindful that the current atmosphere is highly charged, and protests that begin peacefully do not always remain that way. For this reason, we urge you not to attend. For those who do attend, please know that we will do all we can to protect and keep everyone safe.”
UNC prefaced the statement, however, with a declaration of support for the First Amendment and the school’s Campus Free Speech Act.
The university also noted that several students had received threats since the “Silent Sam” statue was knocked over on Monday night, but chose not to elaborate on the specifics of those threats. So far, only three people have been charged with misdemeanors for toppling the statue. None of the people facing these specific charges, however, attend or are affiliated with the university in any way.
According to a member of the UNC Board of Governors, Thom Goolsby, the statue will be reinstalled within a period of 90 days “as required by state law.” The last Confederate statue that was taken down in North Carolina was in August 2017, when the Soldiers Monument was toppled during a protest in Durham.