7 arrested in protest over torn-down 'Silent Sam' Confederate statue

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Officials said seven people were arrested at a rally calling for a century-old Confederate statue at the University of North Carolina to be returned after it was yanked down five days ago.

About a dozen people carrying Confederate flags were met Saturday by dozens of protesters that don't want the memorial nicknamed "Silent Sam" to return.

"Any part of history doesn't need to be destroyed. It would ruin history and then you're doomed to repeat it you know," one man said.

"This was always a statue standing for white supremacy," another man said.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers and members of the Charlotte Fire Department were called on to assist in Chapel Hill.

More than 50 Charlotte officers and firefighters were deployed around 4 a.m.

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Television footage and videos posted to social media showed several punches thrown and at least one man handcuffed after he tried to burn a Confederate flag taken from another man's hands.

University officials say seven people were arrested on charges ranging from assault to destruction of property and resisting an officer. Their names were not released.

The school's chancellor said all seven of the people arrested were not affiliated with the university.

Officials told our news partner WTVD that three were arrested for assault, one for destruction of property and one for resisting an officer. Two more were arrested for assault, destruction of property, and inciting a riot.

The statue, erected in 1913, was torn down Monday during a protest. It's now in temporary storage.

Silent Sam will be reinstalled, as required by state law, within the next 90 days, UNC Board of Governors member Thom Goolsby tweeted Friday.

The university had been preparing for the rally and protesters, and urged the public not to attend.

UNC and the town of Chapel Hill closed streets and parking as precautions.

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