After reports that police were raiding the homes of local activists to arrest and charge those responsible with pulling down the statue of a Confederate soldier in Durham, NC, protesters rallied outside the local courthouse Thursday morning to demand the charges against their fellow activists be dropped.
Organizers planned to admit to vandalizing the statue and turn themselves over en masse for arrest to the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.
Police have arrested four protesters for allegedly vandalizing the statue. Dante Emmanuel Strobino, 35, Ngoc Loan Tran, 24, and Peter Hull Gilbert, 39, all of Durham, were arrested on Wednesday, and Takiyah Fatima Thompson, who scaled the statue to place a noose around its neck at the protest, was arrested on Tuesday. Thompson, who said in an interview that she was inspired by the history of black nationalist organizing, now faces multiple felony rioting charges.
Although activists on the ground said they were planning to turn themselves over to the police collectively, jail officials said they would turn away activists who didn’t have an active warrant out for their arrest, WRAL reported.
The rally was also intended as a show of support for Strobino, Tran, and Gilbert, who were making their first appearances in court this morning.
As the three activists left the courtroom, supporters lining the hallways chanted “shut it down.”
Bree Newsome, the community activist who famously climbed a flagpole to remove the Confederate flag at the South Carolina statehouse, was also tweeting in support of the rally: