On Monday, protesters in Durham, North Carolina toppled a Confederate statue that had been in place for nearly a century as part of an alleged protest against the violence in Charlottesville and to “smash white supremacy.”
Video of the incident shows protesters pulling on rope around the neck of a monument to a Confederate soldier as they chant, “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” When the statute topples to the ground, people cheer as they begin flipping off the statue and jumping on it:
WNCN reports Durham police did not interfere in the situation or make any arrests because the statue was on county property. Durham County Sheriff’s deputies reportedly recorded the incident.
Protester Jose Ramos told WNCN, “Today we got a small taste of justice.”
Loan Tran, an organizer for the event, said earlier in the day, “It needs to be removed.”
“These Confederate statues in Durham, in North Carolina, all across the country,” Tran explained. “When I see a Confederate statue in downtown Durham, or really anywhere, it fills me with a lot of rage and frustration.”
Takiyah Thompson, identified as a protester, added, “People can be mobilized and people are angry and when enough people are angry, we don’t have to look to politicians to sit around in air conditions and do nothing when we can do things ourselves."
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted about toppling shortly after it happened:
The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments #durham - RC— Governor Roy Cooper (@NC_Governor) August 15, 2017
A statement from Durham County officials also issued a statement regarding the toppling:
Our elected officials and senior staff understand the unrest in our nation and community, particularly following the senseless acts that took place in Charlottesville, VA. We share the sentiments of many communities around the nation that admonish hate and acts of violence as we believe civility is necessary in our every action and response. Governmental agencies dedicated to public safety will continue to work collectively to ensure Durham remains a community of excellence where all of our residents can live peacefully, grow and thrive.
WRAL reports that in 2015, the General Assembly passed a law that prevents the statutes from being removed until legislators pass a law sanctioning their removal.
Mayor Bill Bell called the incident “unfortunate, but not surprising, given the environment we’re in.”
“Fortunately, something inanimate was damaged, rather than any person being hurt," he added. “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.”
While the event has been described as one in solidarity with Charlottesville, WNCN notes that the groups said its purpose was to “smash white supremacy.”
Protester Alissa Ellis told WRAL, “We showed up to make racists afraid again, to shout down the Nazis.”
Scott Holmes, identified as a law professor at North Carolina Central University, said, "I hope that folks have conversations that are civil, that are kind.”
However, he added, "It is also important to name racists and name class and name gender discrimination and to hold people accountable who violate those norms."
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