Aug. 21 (UPI) — A group of protesters at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill campus on Monday night knocked down Silent Sam, a 105-year-old statue commemorating Confederate soldiers.
Photos and video of the incident were widely shared on social media as protesters shouted chants, such as, “Hey, hey, ho, ho. This racist statue has got to go.” WRAL-TV reported that protesters marched to the site of the statue and pulled it down with a rope.
UNC-Chapel Hill officials estimated that about 250 participated in the incident, which is now under investigation.
In a statement, UNC Chancellor Carol Folt recognized that the statue is controversial but condemned the actions of those who took it down.
“The monument has been divisive for years, and its presence has been a source of frustration for many people not only on our campus but throughout our community,” Folt said. “However, last night’s actions were unlawful and dangerous, and we are very fortunate that no one was injured.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also condemned the destruction of the statue in a statement via his office.
“Governor Cooper has been in contact with local law enforcement and UNC officials regarding tonight’s rally and appreciates their efforts to keep people safe,” the statement read. “The Governor understands that many people are frustrated by the pace of change and he shares their frustration, but violent destruction of public property has no place in our communities.”
UNC spokeswoman Kate Luck told CNN that one woman was arrested.
“The charges are for concealing one’s face during a public rally and resisting arrest,” Luck said.
Silent Sam was erected in 1913 to commemorate the more than 1,000 UNC-Chapel Hill students who fought in the Civil War for the Confederate Army.