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Police accuse three over toppled Confederate statue in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill police accused three people of violations related to the toppling of a statue of a Confederate soldier on campus, a university police spokesman said on Friday.

About 300 demonstrators gathered on Monday evening for a protest and march at the base of Silent Sam, a memorial erected in 1913 to soldiers of the pro-slavery Confederacy killed during the Civil War. Protesters pulled the statue down with rope, cheering as it lay face down in the mud, its head and back covered in dirt.

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Each of the three people faces misdemeanor charges of riot and defacing of a public monument, university police spokesman Randy Young said in an emailed statement.

The three are not affiliated with the University of North Carolina, Young said. The police investigation is ongoing and there may be additional arrests, he said.

The incident was part of a recent movement to dismantle U.S. Civil War symbols that critics say glorify the South’s legacy of slavery. Many Americans see statues such as Silent Sam as symbols of racism and glorifications of the Southern states’ defense of slavery. Supporters view them as important symbols of American history.

University of North Carolina police reviewed video on Tuesday to identify the protesters who toppled the statue.

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The UNC system board chair, Harry Smith Jr, and president, Margaret Spellings, denounced the toppling of the statue.

Last year UNC students threatened to sue the school, alleging that the university violated federal anti-discrimination laws by allowing the statue to remain on campus.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Alistair Bell

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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