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Protesters topple Confederate statue during Durham rally

Posted August 14
Updated August 15

— A group of protesters in Durham toppled a Confederate monument Monday evening.

Protesters chose to gather near the courthouse for a reason, calling the Confederate Soldiers Monument a symbol of oppression and racism.

Several men used a ladder to reach the top of statue, which had been sprayed with cooking spray by authorities to make it more difficult to climb, and it was pulled down with a strap.

"To call attention to how many states in the south still have these Confederate monuments, these symbols that are emboldening and giving strength to the Nazis and the KKK," said demonstrator Qasima Wideman.

Protesters topple Confederate statue during Durham rally

Wideman said symbols like the Confederate statue feel like a personal attack.

"The state is at war with me and with people like me," Wideman said. "Seeing the events this weekend made me feel like this is really a war."

Police did not step in when the ladders went up against the statue. The Durham Police Department said that no arrests were made by officers at the scene because the Durham County Sheriff's Office has jurisdiction over all county buildings and landmarks, including the courthouse where the monument was toppled.

In 2015, the General Assembly passed a state law that prevents the removal or relocation of any monument or memorial unless lawmakers pass legislation to allow it.

“It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, given the environment we’re in. Fortunately, something inanimate was damaged, rather than any person being hurt," said Mayor Bill Bell in response to the incident. "County and city officials will work together to protect each other’s property. We all have to consider the environment in our area. I don’t believe any other property is endangered. I believe the protestors accomplished what they wished to accomplish. But, most importantly, I’m grateful no one was hurt.”

Organizers of Monday's protest said they are anti-racist and anti-fascist and the event was a response to Saturday's demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., where one protester was killed. Hundreds of other peaceful protesters gathered in Martin Luther King Garden in Raleigh for a similar event.

"We showed up to make racists afraid again, to shout down the Nazis," said demonstrator Alissa Ellis.

Scott Holmes, an assistant professor of law at North Carolina Central University was observing the protest before the statue was toppled.

"I hope that folks have conversations that are civil, that are kind," Holmes said. "It is also important to name racists and name class and name gender discrimination and to hold people accountable who violate those norms."

72 Comments

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  • Charlie Watkins Aug 24, 12:19 p.m.
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    Tearing down the statues ends racism once and for all time.

  • Douglas Roberts Aug 16, 12:06 a.m.
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    Somebody, some arm of government, whatever .. must come forward and endorse the truth , and sell it you all the brainwashed dimwits,of what the Civil War was all about. My family fought in it, we had to defend our state, our homes against an invasion. Our economy was smashed. We didn't own any slaves. The War of Northern Aggression was all about disenfranchising the South to get a leg up on Homesteading land out west. That's all it was. Freeing slaves was nothing but an afterthought, a strategy to rally recruitment in the north, after the Union Army was defeated at Chancellorsville. 17 years of Reconstruction in the South turned the Union victory upside down, exploited every freed black slave into oblivion. It's no wonder here why a black American today, has no trust among whites, Lincoln even said so. He turned out to be right on that. The State of North Carolina joined into this fight. Our state money, our state land, our lives, our property… all was sacrificed. These Confederate m

  • Wayne R. Douglas Aug 15, 6:25 p.m.
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    I haven't seen where anyone threatened to tear down any MLK monument. I have seen where folks have asked the question, what would happen if I did, but not threats. Do white people thinking and asking questions, scare you?

  • Jeff Freuler Aug 15, 4:09 p.m.
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    If seeing something like a statue offends you so much that you feel the need to tear it down I have a feeling tearing it down is not going to help that butthurt go away

  • Joe Eastland Aug 15, 3:57 p.m.
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    That balck woman climbing up on the statue is none other than Takiyah Thompson, a self proclaimed member of the communist Workers World Party.

    Let's just let this sit right here...LOL

  • Steve McToots Aug 15, 3:48 p.m.
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    Oh please. You know good and darn well you are one sided.

  • John Malcholm Aug 15, 10:30 a.m.
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    So. . .the Durham police washed their hands of civil responsibility and said it was the Sheriff's problem?
    I guess it's now ok, according to the Durham police, to witness a crime and say, "It's not my problem."
    Or could it be the Durham police are merely lazy and irresponsible?

  • Wayne Hill Aug 15, 10:23 a.m.
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    If you want to see the type of individuals who toppled the statue, go to their face book pages. I will let that serve as my comment on the matter.

  • John Malcholm Aug 15, 10:21 a.m.
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    Is it possible, we're not discussing the other vandalism at the moment?

  • Steve McToots Aug 15, 10:05 a.m.
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    One fought for equality, the other for slavery.

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