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National

Activists Topple Confederate Monument In North Carolina

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

In North Carolina, a state law prevents cities from removing Confederate monuments. That didn't seem to faze a group of activists in Durham yesterday. They brought down the statue of a Confederate soldier. Jeff Tiberii of member station WUNC reports.

JEFF TIBERII, BYLINE: As chants of no KKK, no fascist USA bounced off the old county courthouse in Durham, a yellow rope was tied around a statue of a Confederate soldier. It was then pulled to the ground, and the crowd erupted.

(CHEERING)

TIBERII: Some demonstrators took turns kicking, spitting and extending middle fingers toward the monument. A few took photos in front of the fallen statue.

ROBIN WILLIAMSON: I mean, I'm not surprised and I'm not sad about it either

TIBERII: Robin Williamson from Durham was observing the scene about an hour later. He said he thinks Confederate symbols represent hate. Glenn Fullington was there when the statue was pulled down. He's worried about escalating tensions over Confederate memorials.

GLENN FULLINGTON: The anti-fascists and the right wing seem to be coming to a head, and it's scary.

TIBERII: Fullington says we should not forget the Civil War as part of our history, but he believes Confederate symbols should not be glorified and on pedestals throughout the South.

FULLINGTON: I was out here tonight because I want to stand with, you know, anti-racists and really make a stand for kind of what I feel like this country is about, which is a melting pot and a lot of different groups.

TIBERII: There were no apparent counter-demonstrators or arrests. Throughout the country, mayors are considering how to handle monuments to the Confederacy. However, in North Carolina, state lawmakers passed a measure banning municipalities from removing these statues. On Monday night in Durham, the people took matters into their own hands. For NPR News, I'm Jeff Tiberii in Durham, N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.