Confederate statues get their own curfew in this North Carolina city

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Curfews surround Confederate statues in one North Carolina city.

Wilmington officials on Saturday announced a five-night ban on some pedestrian activity near two statues in its downtown area, according to a Facebook post.

“This is to prevent incidents in the vicinity of the monuments,” the post said.

The announcement comes amid renewed debate about the future of Confederate statues across the South. While some contend the monuments recognize Civil War history, others argue they are symbols of white supremacy that should be taken down.

People have rallied around some of the monuments as they protest the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. That officer and three others have been charged.

In North Carolina, the city of Salisbury voted last week to remove its Confederate Fame statue, declaring it a risk to public safety after recent protests. A demonstrator threw a rock at a nearby building, and a counterprotester is accused of firing several shots into the air, according to a city proclamation provided to McClatchy News.

On Friday, protesters in Raleigh toppled two Confederate statues on State Capitol grounds, prompting Gov. Roy Cooper to order crews to take other symbols of the Confederacy away from the property.

In Wilmington, protests mostly have been peaceful, and there wasn’t an immediate threat of vandalism when the curfew was issued, the Wilmington Star News reported.

Last week, two people faced charges after a swastika and the letters BLM, a common abbreviation for Black Lives Matter, were found on a Confederate memorial near Third and Dock streets, the newspaper reported.

More recently, “there was some kind of group that came near one of the monuments near Third and Market and chanted about taking them down (Saturday) afternoon, but they never did anything,” city spokesperson Linda Thompson told the Star News.

Now, Wilmington has a curfew that lasts from 7:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. through June 24, unless officials say otherwise. The order allows people to use sidewalks but limits other movements, the city wrote on Facebook.

The curfew prohibits pedestrians from going into the street and median of Market Street between Third and Fifth streets. The area is home to a statue of George Davis, who served as a senator and attorney general for the Confederacy, according to the UNC University Library.

The curfew also prevents people from walking onto the median of Third Street “between Market and Orange Streets,” the city says. That’s near the Wilmington Confederate Monument, which honors local soldiers who fought for the Confederacy, according to the UNC University Library.

Amid recent calls for change, the Historic Wilmington Foundation earlier this month said it supported the removal of the two monuments, which were erected decades after the Civil War, WECT reported.

“It is HWF’s hope that the monuments will be relocated to a location where they may be preserved, interpreted, contextualized, and used expressly for educational purposes, rather than to continue to serve as visual public reminders of racial injustice,” executive director Beth Rutledge told media outlets.


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