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Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

Protesters toppled a statue of a Confederate soldier on the campus of University of North Carolina on Monday, the latest move to dismantle Civil War symbols amid a fierce debate about race and the legacy of slavery in the United States.

About 300 demonstrators gathered at the base of Silent Sam, a memorial to the Confederate soldiers killed during the Civil War, at about 7 p.m. (2300 GMT) to hold a protest and march. About two hours later, the statue, which had been standing on the Chapel Hill campus since 1913, was on the ground, local media reported.

Protesters pulled the statue with rope and threw dirt on it, local media reported. The statue was face down in the mud with dirt on the back of its head and its back, according to a Reuters eyewitness. (Reuters)

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Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

University of North Carolina police stand guard in front of the plinth upon which the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier nicknamed Silent Sam once stood, on the school’s campus after a demonstration for its removal in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

University of North Carolina police lay a tarp atop the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier nicknamed Silent Sam on the school’s campus after a demonstration for its removal in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

University of North Carolina police surround the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier nicknamed Silent Sam on the school’s campus after a demonstration for its removal in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

Students and other protesters chant in celebration in front of the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier nicknamed Silent Sam on the University of North Carolina campus after a demonstration for its removal in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

Police and protesters surround the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier nicknamed Silent Sam on the University of North Carolina campus after a demonstration for its removal in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

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. (Photo: Gerry Broome/AP)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

Students and protesters surround plinth where the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier nicknamed Silent Sam once stood, on the University of North Carolina campus after a demonstration for its removal in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

University of North Carolina police surround the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier nicknamed Silent Sam on the school’s campus after a demonstration for its removal in Chapel Hill, N.C., Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Jonathan Drake/Reuters)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

Protesters celebrate after the Confederate statue known as “Silent Sam” was toppled on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Julia Wall/The News & Observer via AP)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

Police remove a protester during a rally to remove the confederate statue known as Silent Sam from campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Gerry Broome/AP)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

A protester covers his face as people gather during a rally to remove the confederate statue known as Silent Sam from campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Gerry Broome/AP)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

Police and protesters react to a smoke bomb during a rally to remove the confederate statue known as Silent Sam from campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Gerry Broome/AP)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

Police try to take a banner from protesters as people gather during a rally to remove the confederate statue known as Silent Sam from campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Gerry Broome/AP)

Protesters topple “Silent Sam” statue of Confederate soldier at UNC

Banners are used to cover the statue known as Silent Sam as people gather during a rally to remove the confederate statue from campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (Photo: Gerry Broome/AP)

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