Following the horrific events in Charlottesville, activists around the country have begun taking matters of monument deconstruction into their own hands.
On Monday night, demonstrators in North Carolina tore down a monument to Confederate veterans. Now, police are beginning to round up and arrest those behind the efforts to dismantle these symbols of hate.
Taqiyah Thompson, 22, climbed a ladder and tied rope around the statue before a crowd tugged the monument off its base. She was arrested and charged with two felonies: participation in a riot with property damage over $1,500 and inciting others to riot where there is property damage over $1,500. She was also charged with two misdemeanors: disorderly conduct by injury to a statue and damage to property. She was apprehended by police shortly after speaking at North Carolina University and demanding amnesty for protesters.
“I did the right thing,” Thompson said during a Workers World Party press conference. “Everyone who was there—the people did the right thing. The people will continue to keep making the right choices until every Confederate statue is gone, until white supremacy is gone. That statue is where it belongs. It needs to be in the garbage.”
“That statue glorifies the conditions that oppressed people live in and it had to go,” Thompson said.
Local Sheriff Mike Andrews was firmly against the removal of the statue and protestors' actions. “Let me be clear, no one is getting away with what happened,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, offered his opinion on the matter as well. “Cities, counties, and the state must have the authority and opportunity to make these decisions,” Cooper wrote. “Second, I’ve asked the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources to determine the cost and logistics of removing Confederate monuments from state property as well as alternatives for their placement at museums or historical sites where they can be studied in context.”
Cooper also plans on rejecting a bill that would protect those who hit protesters with vehicles.
Thompson, meanwhile, argued that the police are agents of white supremacy. “The statue in Durham, North Carolina, said ‘to the boys who wore the gray,’” she said. “If we understand history, we know that those boys who wore the gray, today they wear blue, and they wear sheets over their heads.”
The future of the damaged statue is unclear.