Counter-protestors sporting confederate flags assembled on McCorkle Place in response to the Student sit-in at Silent Sam.
The sit-in started on Aug. 22 following a large protest in opposition to the statue.
Mitch Xia was taking a shift at the sit-in when they saw the counter-demonstration taking place right in front of the statue.
“This statue is a beacon for white supremacist hate,” they said. “That is what it was put on this campus for. I feel like what we’re seeing now is proof that that is completely true. This is drawing white supremacist hate to our campus. I thought that kind of thing had no place on our campus.”
Azaan Cole, a counter protestor who is not affiliated as UNC, said the protestors were incorrect in calling the statue racist.
“The statue of Silent Sam isn’t offending anybody,” he said. “Have we ever even learned about Silent Sam? If anything is racist, we should take down that statue with the slaves right?”
Cole said the statue is a war memorial, and represents fallen members of the University, not racism.
“We honor him for that reason, now you’re trying to take down?” he asked. “We’re not going to stand for it. The police are supposed to clean this stuff up, and if they won’t we will.”
Xia said that the protestors at the sit-in were approached by several people last night who made jokes about bringing guns to the protest.
They said the students have been at the sit-in non-stop since the rally and plan to continue to do so until the statue comes down.
Local resident Mike Dixon came out to the sit-in armed with donuts for the protestors who have been sitting outside Silent Sam.
Food and water donated by local supporters is piled in a ring around the statues based.
“It’s been hard, but we’ve also received an outpouring of support from the community,” Xia said. “People have been bringing fresh food and water to us, because they’ve heard about what we’re doing and they support bringing the statue down.”
Dixon said he wants to support the students any way he can, and that he’s committed to getting the statue removed.
“I think as long as this statue stays up it’s going to be a flashpoint for controversy,” he said.
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