DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A crowd of protesters gathered outside the old Durham County courthouse on Main Street Monday evening in opposition to a Confederate monument in front of the government building.
Around 7:10 p.m. a woman using a ladder climbed the statue of a soldier and attached a rope around the statue. Moments later, the crowd pulled on the rope and the statue fell. One man quickly ran up and spat on the statue and several others began kicking it.
It’s not clear where law enforcement officers were during the protest.
In 1924, the Confederate statue was dedicated to Durham. Engraved on the front of the monument is “The Confederate States of America.”
Above it, is a statue representing a soldier who fought in the Civil War. “It needs to be removed,” Loan Tran, an organizer, said earlier Monday. “These Confederate statues in Durham, in North Carolina, all across the country.”
There are similar monuments in several cities around North Carolina. “When I see a Confederate statue in downtown Durham, or really anywhere, it fills me with a lot of rage and frustration,” she said.
Organizers say Monday night’s protest is a reaction to the events in Charlottesville this past weekend.
“People can be mobilized and people are angry and when enough people are angry, we don’t have to look to politicians to sit around in air conditions and do nothing when we can do things ourselves,” said Takiyah Thompson, a protester.
The statue is on county property.
In an email to CBS North Carolina, Durham County spokeswoman Dawn Dudley says:
Due to a North Carolina state law passed a few years ago, Durham County is prohibited from removing or making substantive alteration to historical monuments and memorials. I share this to say that there is a statute in place making the efforts you mention below difficult to move forward. I would assume that the only thing possible are steps to reverse the law.”
This statue has been the center of controversy before after graffiti was spray painted on it a few years ago.
The group that met Monday say their purpose is to “smash white supremacy.”