Orange County

UNC-Chapel Hill planning for Confederate statue rally Saturday, tells public stay away

UNC-Chapel Hill is preparing for a possible rally Saturday in response to this week’s toppling of the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam. It has asked community members to stay away.

The rally may happen near the base of the fallen statue in McCorkle Place, a tree-lined quad near the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center off East Franklin Street. Or it could happen on town property.

Either way, the university issued a statement Friday urging people not to attend.

“We do not know for sure what groups may attend, but we are mindful that the current atmosphere is highly charged, and protests that begin peacefully do not always remain that way,” the statement says. “For this reason, we urge you not to attend. For those who do attend, please know that we will do all we can to protect and keep everyone safe.”

In its own release, the town said it has issued no permits for an event in downtown Chapel Hill but there will be no parking on the 100 and 200 blocks of East Franklin Street and the 100 block of Henderson Street on Saturday.

Cars parked on these blocks after 7 a.m. Saturday will be towed. Other downtown streets could be closed to traffic and parking could be limited.

3 charged in toppling

On Monday protesters pulled the bronze Confederate statue erected in 1913 to the ground.

So far UNC Police have warrants charging three people with misdemeanors in the incident, but have not released their names because the warrants have not been served. A fourth person was cited earlier for wearing a mask during the demonstration.

Since then, university said some students and others have received threats.

“We want you to know that we take all threats seriously,” the statement said, urging anyone who feels threatened, including on social media, to call 911 or see help from counseling services available for students, faculty and staff.

Meanwhile, activists will gather for a daylong conference, “How to Topple a Statue, How to Tear Down a Wall,” in Durham Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the destruction of a Confederate statue there.

The group Defend Durham is planning a separate march against white supremacy in Durham at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Mark Schultz: 919-829-8950; @HeraldSunEditor
Camila Molina: 919-829-4538, @Cmolina__
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