15:49 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Police stand guard after the confederate statue known as Silent Sam was toppled by protesters on campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018

    WATCH Protesters Topple Confederate Monument at University of North Carolina

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    The protesters who knocked down the statue decried it as a symbol of a controversial chapter in US history. The forcible destruction stirred controversy online, with some people calling the demonstrators "uneducated fools" and others praising them as revolutionists.

    On videos posted online, hundreds of protesters can be seen yanking down a longstanding Confederate statue known as "Silent Sam" on the University of North Carolina's campus on Monday night.

    According to media reports, the rally split into two groups. The bigger one marched away from the statue to distract the police, while the smaller one concealed the efforts to tie a rope around the monument with banners on bamboo poles. Then the demonstrators came together and pulled the monument down from its stone pedestal.

    A university official condemned the actions while admitting that the monument has fueled controversy. "The monument has been divisive for years, and its presence has been a source of frustration for many people not only on our campus but throughout the community," she said in a statement on Tuesday. "However, last night's actions were unlawful and dangerous, and we are very fortunate that no one was injured."

    Opinions on the incident have divided among the public. Some Twitter users have criticized it as vandalism, which has nothing to do with social justice.

    Others excused it as an "act of desperation" following decades of neglect.

    "Silent Sam" is a bronze figure of a Confederate soldier, which was erected on the campus in 1913. Many students have slammed it as a racist image, in large part due to its dedication speech by North Carolina industrialist Julian Carr, who praised the Confederate Army, whose "courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South."

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    statue, Confederate, University of North Carolina, North Carolina, United States
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