In August 2017, Virginia declared a state of emergency after a "Unite the Right Rally" turned violent in response to the pending removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. One counter protestor died in Charlottesville sparking a mass removal of Confederate statues across the United States. In Durham, North Carolina, protestors forcefully tore down a Confederate monument on August 15, 2017. On UNC-Chapel Hill's campus there stands a statue known as "Silent Sam" that was erected to honor the UNC-CH students who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. It has been the topic of controversy for decades. On August 22, 2017, the first day of classes of the fall semester at UNC-CH, a protest was organized called "The first day of Silent Sam's last semester". Hundreds of protestors gathered to find that Silent Sam was surrounded by police and two layers of barriers. The protest carried on for hours and involved multiple arrests while also spilling onto the streets of Chapel Hill. The protest transformed into a sit-in where people camped out 24/7 next to the statue for a week.