State - Regional

Opposing sides square off in Raleigh over Confederate monuments

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - The Confederate monument debate took center stage in Raleigh this weekend.

Saturday saw two opposing groups of protesters at the State Capitol grounds. 

One side called for the removal of Confederate monuments, while the other insisted they should be left alone.

"There's a little confrontation, nothing physical," Raleigh resident Addison Ford recalled. "They were just across the street, kind of yelling at each other."

Ford and Mac Snyder saw a rally with protesters against the monuments holding signs, while some counter-protesters in support of the statues came out holding flags. 

"I've always just seen it in the news," Snyder said. "I've never seen it in a person. It was definitely a new experience for me."

The rally came months after protesters brought down Silent Sam on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus, and a Confederate statue in Durham in August 2017. 

"I'm just here to be along with my other brothers and sisters to support the taking down of these racist statues," Raleigh resident Nicollette Adams said. "They offend so many people in our community. I understand it's a part of our history, and I think we should all learn about it in school. I think it's very important to learn about, but I don't think we need an entire capitol park surrounding with those statues."

Meanwhile, those like Clayton resident Ron King who came out to support the statues at the rally Saturday are all for them staying. 

"The real solution is simply to recognize what they are," King said. the people who believe in them and follow them, they don't follow it because they believe in racism, or they hate black people, or they hate anybody else. That's where they were born. That's their culture. That's who they are."

In August 2018, a state commission said a 2015 North Carolina law left them unable to recommend moving Confederate monuments from the capitol grounds. 

Earlier this year, officials recommended the Confederate statue torn down in Durham remain in its current condition, and be moved inside a building.
 
Last month in Chapel Hill, UNC officials said the base of Silent Sam was moved to a secure location due to public safety concerns.

For more information on the 2015 law, click here.


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