Will Racke – Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
One of the activists who toppled a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C., on Monday night is a member of an extreme leftist group that supports the totalitarian regime in North Korea and wants to abolish capitalism.
Taqiyah Thompson, a student at North Carolina Central University, was arrested Tuesday following a press conference in which she defended the actions of the demonstrators and equated police officers to Confederate soldiers and Ku Klux Klan members.
“I did the right thing,” she said. “Everyone who was there — the people did the right thing. The people will continue to keep making the right choices until every Confederate statue is gone, until white supremacy is gone. That statue is where it belongs. It needs to be in the garbage.”
Thompson is a member of the Worker’s World Party (WWP), a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist group originally formed in 1959 as a hard-line offshoot of the more moderate Socialist Workers Party. In addition to supporting a wide range of far-left causes, the group also defends the North Korean regime of dictator Kim Jong-un against alleged U.S. imperialism.
The Durham Branch of the WWP called for Monday’s demonstration in “solidarity” with local anti-racist and anti-fascist forces, according to the group’s website. The group says it organized the protest in response to events in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday where three people were killed when a white supremacist rally descended into street battles with counter-protesters.
Video of the gathering shows Thompson climbing to the top of the statue and placing a rope around its neck the before fellow protesters pulled it down from its base.
The day after pulling down the statue, Thompson and fellow WWP members gathered at North Carolina Central University to demand that demonstrators receive amnesty from prosecution. Thompson argued that that Durham’s law enforcement officers were agents of white supremacy akin to Confederate soldiers and hate groups.
“If we understand history, we know that those boys who wore the gray, today they wear blue, and they wear sheets over their heads,” she said, referring to Ku Klux Klan garb.
Durham police took Thompson into custody following the press conference. Authorities have charged her with disorderly conduct by injury to a statue, damage to real property, felony participation in a riot with property damage in excess of $1,500 and felony inciting others to riot, according to jail records.
In a blog post on the WWP website, party member L.T. Pham said the group would seek to destroy other Confederate monuments.
“This is the first rope of many to pull down the pillars holding up white supremacy and capitalism,” he wrote Tuesday. “The powers that be will crumble under the power of organized people! Down with all statues of the Confederacy! Down with white supremacy!”
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