State News

Protesters vow continued activism after UNC clears sit-in

Posted August 31

— Students staging an around-the-clock protest against a Confederate statue at the University of North Carolina were joined by hundreds of supporters Thursday after police took away picnic tables and other equipment used for the sit-in.

Police oversaw the removal around 9 a.m. of the tables, tarps, signs and other belongings used by the protesters who have been sitting and sleeping for more than a week at the statue known as Silent Sam. The sit-in grew out of an anti-statue demonstration in the aftermath of a violent rally earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The organizers vowed to continue their activism, but announced late Thursday that the sit-in was ending after the police sweep.

At midafternoon, hundreds marched across campus to Silent Sam as part of a previously planned rally that was also decrying proposed changes to the school's Center for Civil Rights.

"The statue is still standing here, so we still have a lot of work to do," said student Tahj Warren, addressing the crowd with a bullhorn. "But the fact that we're standing together means that we are powerful together."

Another student organizer, Gabrielle Johnson, said small groups of about six students have been taking turns spending the night around the statue. Supporters have brought them hot food and water, but others stopped by to make threatening statements — an unnerving prospect despite police watching from nearby.

"I'm not saying we couldn't get real rest out here, but it's a stressful situation being out here in the open," Johnson said.

University officials warned students on Wednesday that belongings would be removed the next day. The university issued a statement that the items violated campus policy restricting temporary structures and signs. The university statement said that "we have a responsibility to maintain the cleanliness and order of all campus open spaces and grounds."

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8 Comments

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  • Deborah Turner Sep 1, 10:05 a.m.
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    Thank you ! Could not have put it much better.

  • William Sherman Sep 1, 8:12 a.m.
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    Somebody please inform the snow flakes/cup cakes/blue bells etc. that their Momma dont work there so they have to clean up after themselves..

  • Phillip Mozingo Sep 1, 7:23 a.m.
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    I backed you on your decision NOT to allow a white supremacists to speak on your campus, but you can't have it both ways! Run these little brats home to mama. They can cause violence just as fast.

  • Michael Parker Aug 31, 8:08 p.m.
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    Don't these people have jobs to go to? No that's right, Antifa is made up of just a bunch of kids that live in their parents basements. Like Sara said, I think there are things going on right now, that are much more important than a statue, that could really use people's attention!

    But... you let Antifa protest since you're not expecting white supremacists to start violence because of it, but since you expect Antifa to start reacting violently to white supremacists you don't let white supremacists protest? That's messed up...

  • Amy Whaley Aug 31, 8:05 p.m.
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    Excactly

  • Sara Hauser Aug 31, 5:57 p.m.
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    Maybe they could see past their own noses and do something productive to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey.

  • John Johnson Aug 31, 2:35 p.m.
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    Prayers Out Of Schools & Courts. Hatred For War, Military, American Veterans, ETC. It Will Always Be Something to Cry About. The Past is The Past. Move On! American History is What it Is.. It's Not Pick and Choose. Beside Most Confederate were in Other Wars Before the Civil War.. Let's Do Away With Welfare, Food Stamps, Free Housing & College.. That's oFFENSIVE TO THE tax Paying Workers!!

  • Matthew Rose Aug 31, 2:04 p.m.
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    so the university denies a ridiculous white supremacist from giving a ridiculous speech because of the fear of violent counter protesters but allows the protests of the statue which in turn could attract violent counter protests. If you want it one way you need to apply that to both ways. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, one side can't be granted and the other denied.