CHAPEL HILL, NC – What began on Thursday night as a peaceful demonstration of a fallen Confederation monument on the campus of the University of North Carolina on the Chapel Hill campus ended with three arrested people and the crowd in pepper spray.
About 40 people turned up for a "Twilight Service" Alamance County, which retired Alamance County or ACTBAC, had planned on campus to "respect and honor our fallen boy soldier" at the site show where demonstrators moved on 21
At least 200 counter-protagonists have appeared, despite warnings from university administrators, to stay away from the demonstration site. Some who opposed the statue held a dance party near the steps of the monument's pedestal while others shouted at the statue's followers.
Two of the detainees were charged with disturbing peace through fighting in a public place, and the third arrested was charged with defying an officer. The university did not publish the names of those arrested on Thursday. It was not clear if the detainees were attached to the UNC. Seven people were also arrested last Saturday during protests .
The memorial was built in 1913 to commemorate UNC students who fought for the Confederation during the Civil War. Since the statue was dropped, the university has been criticized by both sides to deal with the incident. The state law had previously prevented the university from moving the statue, but questions remain as to whether the school needs to reinstall it.
André Tyson, a senior from Ansonville, North Carolina, said he will do everything possible to ensure the statue is not rebuilt.
"You have no idea of the sense of empowerment I feel when I see this statue come down," Tyson said.
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and the University Board of Trustees passed a resolution on Tuesday fixing a deadline of 15 November to determine the fate of the statue.
After a demonstration on Saturday, Folt defended the idea of relocating her. "I would find a better place, a safe and secure place for the memorial, that would allow us to talk about, learn from, and deal with it respectfully and appropriately, and if I could do that, that's what I am Still thinks it is necessary. "
Officers from several UNC system schools helped police curb the groups.
Shortly after the counter-protagonists began to dance, police officers with bicycles barricaded a path for ACTBAC members to enter the fenced area around the podium. For about 30 minutes, the "mourners" stood at the base of the statue, honoring them and staring at the crowd as they waved their flags of the Confederates.
Hundreds of protesters stood by the fences, shouting that the group should leave. When ACTBAC members were escorted from campus, the police sprayed pepper on the crowd to "keep order," the university said in a statement.
A few policemen stood around the pedestal of the statue as the tension between the groups rose shortly thereafter. A group of anti-protests had gathered and began to sing: "Nazis go home" when the officers intervened and arrested a man.
"I think that all this turmoil over the monument is less about slavery and more about the suppression of free speech," Noel Fritsch, a 38-year-old resident of Chapel Hill, who has worked as a political adviser on Republican campaigns, said about the cries of the counterprotesters. "These people do not believe that people who disagree with them should exist."
When the officers dragged two other women out of the crowd who had quarreled with Fritsch, an officer flooded the pile of pepper spray again.
The three detainees were held in a nearby building stocked with officers in combat gear. Shortly thereafter, when the police escorted the three from the area, protesters tried to stop them. The officers again used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.
Counter-protagonists say they will not be deterred from speaking out against any effort to restore the monument to its former location on campus.
"This campus belongs to everyone," said Altha Cravey, a professor at the university while she was dancing. "We do not want Nazis, I'm here to celebrate," Silent Sam "is gone and he's not coming back."