Protests erupt in North Carolina over Confederate statues

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North Carolina's flagship university has put metal barriers around a Confederate statue ahead of an expected rally on campus.

Charlotte was live at the scene of the rally as the events unfurled.

"Despite how it is being interpreted in the media, the University has not been given the clear legal authority to act unilaterally", the statement said. Hemminger wrote that the university had the authority to move Silent Sam because of a provision of the law that would allow for the action in order to protect the monument.

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Silent Sam protests are underway in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.#SilentSam needs to come down and I support the 100s at UNC protesting. The law provides an exception if "a building inspector or similar official" determines that there's a "threat to public safety because of an unsafe or risky condition".

The Confederate statue has been there for more than 100 years, to honor the Confederate soldiers from the university.

Police set up barricades around the Silent Sam statue not far from Franklin Street in anticipation of protests Tuesday evening on campus.

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"In circumstances like this one, the law clearly gives that authority to "building inspector [s] or similar officials" to take steps in the interest of avoiding 'threats to public safety, '" Cooper explained, adding that "if the university and its leadership such a unsafe condition is on campus, then the law gives it the authority to address those concerns".

Both protests were in response to the "Unite the Right" rally in Virginia earlier this month, where white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis gathered to protest the city of Charlottesville's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

"If the University and its leadership believe such a risky condition is on campus, then the law gives it the authority to address those concerns". The university is also taking steps to discourage people from attending it and warning people to avoid the area around the "Silent Sam statue".

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Chapel Hill's mayor wants the statue relocated from the campus location to a building somewhere in town where it can be used as a teaching aid.

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