RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — More protesters were arrested Wednesday for participating in a demonstration that toppled a Confederate statue in North Carolina, and more monuments were vandalized as well.
The statue in Durham came down Monday night when a protester climbed a ladder to attach a rope and others on the ground pulled the bronze soldier from its pedestal.
On Wednesday morning, Dante Strobino and Ngoc Loan Tran were led away in handcuffs when they came to a court hearing for Takiyah Thompson, the woman who climbed the ladder. Another demonstrator, Peter Gull Gilbert, was arrested later.
The Durham County Sheriff's office said all four arrested so far were charged with two felonies related to inciting and participating in a riot that damaged property, along with two misdemeanors.
Many of the protesters were affiliated with the Workers World Party, which helped organize the demonstration in response to deadly violence over the weekend during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thompson said toppling the statue was justified.
"We know that the only thing that's going to take down these Confederate monuments, as we saw in Durham last night, is organized people's power," Tran said Tuesday at a news conference by the group. "We have to build a fighting movement against white supremacy."
Messages weren't immediately returned by the group Wednesday.
Durham's Confederate Soldiers Monument, depicting a uniformed rebel soldier leaning against his rifle, had stood since 1924 in front of a courthouse building that now serves as local government offices.
The sheriff's office said Wednesday that it plans more arrests. Deputies took video during the protest but declined to intervene because the sheriff said he wanted to avoid a hostile confrontation and injuries.
To the east in Wilmington, two Confederate statues were vandalized with spray paint. Someone also tied a rope around one of the statues early Wednesday in what may have been an attempt to topple it, said Wilmington police spokeswoman Linda Rawley Thompson. No arrests have been made.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called on Tuesday for the removal of Confederate monuments on public property around the state.
"We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery," Cooper said in a statement. "These monuments should come down."14 comments on this story
Cooper directed state officials to study the cost and logistics of moving monuments from state property to historical sites or museums. Many others are on property owned by local governments, and none of the monuments can be removed without legislative approval, under a law the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed in 2015. Cooper, a Democrat, called for its repeal, but is likely to face an uphill battle, given the GOP's veto-proof majorities.
North Carolina is one of only three states — along with Virginia and Georgia — with 90 or more Confederate monuments, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. A state tally shows at least 120 Civil War monuments around North Carolina, the vast majority dedicated to the Confederacy. Around 50 of them are at contemporary or historic courthouses.
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