When police asked why they were not separating the groups, officers said it was not the time to ask questions…
(Joe Johnson, Tammy Grubb and Jane Stancill, The News & Observer Raleigh, N.C.) Police arrested seven people Saturday as protesters clashed at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill five days after the Silent Sam Confederate monument was overturned.
Later, UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said she won’t be rushed into deciding what happens next to the statue. She said she has to keep an “eye on safety, preparing for events and identifying a sustainable solution.”
“I think we need to really look into that,” she said. “We’ve just had a lot of new information when the Historical Commission looked at the law and the timing of the law. So we’re certainly looking into all of those things and trying to really understand what it says, what it requires.”
Some people carrying Confederate flags gathered earlier Saturday on campus. Far more people gathered in support of the toppling of the statue, which protesters tore down Monday night. Supporters of the stature numbered no more than a couple of dozen, while the protesters opposed to it included about 200 people shouting and chanting various slogans.
Skirmishes broke out among the groups, after police unloaded riot gear. Around noon, police led away a Confederate supporter after he punched another man, who had ripped the Confederate flag from his hand. Officers led away one man who had bumped up against a man carrying a Confederate flag.
UNC police stood inside the barricades around the statue and around the perimeter of the crowd, stepping in only when things got out of hand. When asked why they were not separating the groups, officers said it was not the time to ask questions.
Folt said the university’s goals are public safety and transparency about what’s happening on campus.
Saturday’s protest “was highly charged at times, and I’m extremely grateful once again that there were no serious injuries,” she said.
Three people were arrested for assault, according to UNC spokeswoman Carly Miller. Two were arrested for assault, destruction of property and inciting a riot. One was arrested for destruction of property, and another for resisting an officer.
That brought to 11 the number of people arrested or being sought in connection with protests since Monday night. Folt said none of those arrested are UNC students.
©2018 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.