Protesters are calling for a twenty-four hour occupation of UNC’s Confederate Silent Sam statue beginning this evening.
Hundreds of people converged on the Chapel Hill campus Tuesday night to call for the removal of the statue. Three people were arrested during the protest, which was peaceful but saw several tense confrontations with police. Some protesters stayed overnight Tuesday and have been taking shifts around the monument.
On Facebook, protesters are asking people to join their sit-in beginning at six this evening. They are also asking for temporary rain shelter, like tents, and portable batteries.
“A core group of these folks have remained at the statue and plan to hold this post until the racist trash is properly disposed of—however long that takes,” organizers shared on Facebook. ” … A critical mass here is key, as law enforcement authorities have communicated that erecting a shelter here would be considered trespassing, unless a permit is obtained. They must either be called on their bluff, or be forced to publicly reveal themselves as to the true proprietors of violence they are, and refuse to accept responsibility for being. In any case, the messaging must be clear: we will not rest until that statue falls.”
Silent Sam was dedicated in 1913 to students who fought in the Civil War and has been a subject of controversy for years. The university administration has said it would like to remove the statue, but can’t because of a state law protecting such monuments, despite a letter from Governor Roy Cooper saying “the law allows them to take immediate measures” if the statue poses a public safety risk.
The North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, called Cooper’s remarks to UNC an example of him “selectively enforcing the law” against his political foes.
“We demand that a line be drawn and that the state not be run at the behest of extremists and hysterical militants. Each week brings a new protest and the limit of what is acceptable gets moved a little more to the left,” the statement reads.