Workers World Party organized rally that toppled Confederate statue in Durham

by WorldTribune Staff, August 16, 2017

Three activists with ties to the communist Workers World Party have been arrested and charged with felonies for their roles in the Aug. 15 toppling of a Confederate statue in Durham, North Carolina.

Takiyah Thompson, a student at North Carolina Central University, was charged with two felonies related to inciting and participating in a riot that damaged property, according to the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

Takiyah Thompson is arrested by Durham County Sheriff’s deputies on Aug. 15. / AP

North Carolina in 2015 passed a law which prevents removing such monuments on public property without permission from state officials, according to an Associated Press report.

The sheriff’s office said Thompson was seen climbing a ladder and attaching a rope to the bronze statue, which then was pulled to the ground. The statue of a Confederate soldier was dedicated in 1924.

“I’m tired of white supremacy keeping its foot on my neck and the necks of people who look like me,” Thompson said at a news conference. “That statue glorifies the conditions that oppressed people live in, and it had to go.”

Two more activists, Dante Strobino and Ngoc Loan Tran, were arrested on Aug. 16 when they attended a court hearing for Thompson. The sheriff’s office said Tran and Strobino were also each charged with two felonies related to the incident.

The three activists are charged with:

  • Disorderly conduct by injury to a statue (Class II Misdemeanor)
  • Damage to real property (statue as a fixture (Class I Misdemeanor)
  • Participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class H Felony)
  • Inciting others to riot where there is property damage in excess of $1,500 (Class F Felony)

The Workers World Party helped organize the Durham protest in response to the events that transpired over the weekend during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Workers World Party is a U.S. communist party founded in 1959 by a group led by Sam Marcy of the Socialist Workers Party.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Aug. 15 called for the removal of any remaining Confederate monuments on state property, directing state officials to study the cost and logistics of moving them to historical sites or museums.

“We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery,” Cooper said in a statement. “These monuments should come down.”

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