The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday October 25th

Tensions rise as Confederate supporters and protesters clash at Silent Sam

Buy Photos

Update, 5:05 p.m.: UNC released a statement on Saturday's rally in McCorkle Place. They said approximately 100 people attended the demonstration that was "highly charged." 

"We appreciate the outstanding work of University and Town of Chapel Hill law enforcement and the support of hundreds more public safety and non-public safety agencies from North Carolina," the statement said. "We also thank Pam Hemminger, mayor of Chapel Hill, and numerous teams from the Town of Chapel Hill and the University that worked on joint operations management. It takes a great deal of resources and hard work to plan for and manage these types of demonstrations."

The statement also included resources for individuals who receive threats or feel unsafe, including on social media. 

Confrontation erupted at McCorkle Place on Saturday when protesters holding Confederate flags faced counter-protesters who supported the removal of Confederate monument Silent Sam. Seven arrests were made, said Carly Miller, media relations manager for University Communications in a statement. 

"As of 12:45 p.m. today, there have been seven arrests in connection to a gathering on McCorkle Place. Three arrests were for assault, the fourth for destruction of property and the fifth arrest for resisting an officer," Miller said. "The sixth arrest was for assault, destruction of property and inciting a riot. We are awaiting information on charges for the seventh arrest."

At 1:20 p.m., UNC Media relations confirmed that the seventh arrest was for assault, destruction of property and inciting a riot.

The rally began peacefully as counter-protesters stood in front of protesters holding Confederate flags. 

“One, we are the people. Two, a little bit louder,” counter-protesters shouted. “Three, we want freedom for all people.”

Protester Scottie Harris stood in the distance, away from the main demonstration. He said the forced removal of Silent Sam was vandalism.

"I did a live feed last night. I took a brown egg and a white egg. Guess what was in the middle? The same thing. We all bleed red," Harris said. "I'm not against nobody. They've got their right just as much as anyone else. They've got their freedom of speech right now."

Tensions began to escalate as the two groups discussed videoing the scene. Protesters in support of taking down Silent Sam blocked media cameras due to safety concerns. 

“People find out names, they find our faces, they stalk us,” one protester said.

As one man with a Confederate flag and flowers tried to make his way through the crowd of demonstrators, he was blocked out. He then punched one of the counter-protesters. 

Police surrounded the altercation, and then detained a demonstrator for the destruction of a Confederate flag. Counter-protesters ran in the direction of the officers, and asked whose side were they on as a protester stood in line with the police. 

Demonstrators later took the rally to Franklin Street. 

Some Confederate supporters began to cross the street to leave as counter protesters followed. As one man refused to leave, police urged protesters to begin clearing Franklin Street. 

Demonstrators took the rally back to McCorkle Place where tensions escalated once again as police made at least one more arrest. 

Charlie McGee, Kate Karstens, Taylor Buck, Maddy Arrowood and Sarah Lundgren contributed to reporting.


To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


Welcome Back Edition 2021

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive