Local News

Latest: Protests flare on UNC-Chapel Hill campus days after Silent Sam toppled

Posted August 25, 2018 9:25 a.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2018 3:54 p.m. EDT

— A group of protesters gathered Saturday on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to demonstrate just days after the controversial Silent Sam statue was toppled.

Police imposed parking restrictions on some town streets amid reports that people would rally in Chapel Hill, which is still reeling from the toppling of the Silent Sam statue on Monday. Police said no protest or march had been approved by the city because Chapel Hill has not issued any permits for any event in downtown Chapel Hill.

3:53 p.m.: Barricades on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus are being removed so university police must believe the threat of more protests -- for now -- is over.

1:20 p.m.: UNC-Chapel Hill officials said as of 1:20 p.m. today, seven people have been arrested, including: three for assault; two for assault, destruction of property and inciting a riot; one for destruction of property and one for resisting an officer.

1 p.m. Police appear to have taken another suspect in custody.

12:50 p.m.: UNC-Chapel Hill officials say as of 12:30 p.m. five people have been arrested, including three for assault, one for destruction of property and one for resisting an officer. Several police officers remain on the scene but reporter Bryan Mims says it's fairly calm on the campus right now.

12:42 p.m.: Things appear to have quieted down somewhat. The people holding Confederate flags seem to have all left the campus.

12:28 p.m.: Another man wearing a hat is being detained. A police officer fell over a television camera tripod during the melee. The crowd is chanting "Let him go" to prevent police from taking a man into the building where people are apparently being detained. The man who was being detained was apparently trying to light a Confederate flag on fire.

12:18 p.m.: Anti-Silent Sam demonstrators are following people with a Confederate flag. The group is walking down Franklin Street and there has been some back-and-forth among the groups but the crowd is still fairly peaceful. A man with a megaphone is walking down the street chanting "Nazis go home."

12:10 p.m.: The crowd is now chanting "Racists go home." They were chanting "Black lives they matter here." The people with Confederate flags are walking through the crowd.

12:00 p.m.: WRAL News reporter Bryan Mims estimates the crowd is between 100 and 150 people. The crowd is chanting but there are several people standing around and milling about.

11:45 a.m.: A third person has been taken into custody. Three police officers with bikes are standing in front of a building where the woman was taken along with two others. The woman tore up a Confederate flag..

11:42 a.m.: Chants continue but it's a peaceful rally so far.

11:36 a.m. One person was detained by police and several officers surrounded a person and shuffled them inside a building.

11:21 a.m.: Protesters are chanting, "(expletive) the Confederacy.

11:16 a.m.: Chants of "Hey, hey, ho, ho white Supremacy has got to go" continue. Three Confederate flags are being held in front of the Silent Sam statue.

11:00 a.m.: Police have placed a barricade around Silent Sam as a small crowd mingles about. Chants continue and at least two Confederate flags are being waved.

10:55 a.m.: UNC-Chapel Hill police led a man in a green shirt away in handcuffs. It was not immediately clear what prompted that action.

10:30 a.m.: Several police officers are standing in front of the Silent Sam statue.

10:15 a.m.: Small group of anti-white Nationalists have gathered and have started chanting. They appear to outnumber any other groups on campus.

At 9:45 a.m.: A small group of protesters have gathered on the campus, some of whom carried Confederate flags.

10 am: A small group of anti-white Nationalists began chanting: "Hey, hey, ho, ho: White Supremacists have got to go."

"Chapel Hill Police are coordinating with UNC Police and area law enforcement agencies to prepare for the possibility of a Saturday demonstration in downtown," Chapel Hill police said in a statement released Saturday morning.

Police said Saturday that no parking is allowed on the 100 and 200 blocks of East Franklin Street and the 100 block of Henderson Street as a precaution. Any vehicles parked on those streets after 7 a.m. Saturday would be towed. Authorities said other downtown Chapel Hill streets could also be closed if needed.

The precautions are in response to Monday night's protest that ended with Silent Sam -- a memorial for Confederate war veterans -- on the ground and towed away from the metal pedestal it had stood upon for decades.

There is no confirmed activity as far as Chapel Hill city officials and police can officially confirm. But there are rumblings that groups could stage a protest Saturday to show their displeasure with what happened Monday night on campus.

About 300 people gathered at the site of the statue, surrounded it with banners and marched across campus chanting and singing before eventually toppling it.

Police from the university and the city were present but did not challenge the protesters at the time.

One person was arrested on Monday, on charges with resisting arrest and concealing one's face during a public rally.

UNC Chapel Hill police said three people are now facing charges inn connection with that event.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said campus leaders didn't anticipate the vandalism, and that the school would conduct a complete investigation. She called the actions of the protesters "unlawful and dangerous."

“Whatever anyone feels about the Confederate monument, what happened Monday night was destruction of state property,” she said.