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Charlottesville, Va. – A Virginia judge has blocked the city of Charlottesville’s effort to remove Confederate statues.

The Daily Progress reports the three-day civil trial that ended Friday included a judge’s ruling preventing the removal of statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

The planned removal of the Lee statue prompted a white nationalist rally in 2017 in which counter protester Heather Heyer was killed.

Residents had sued Charlottesville, citing a state law that protects war memorials. The city said that law violated the U.S. Constitution because the statues send a racist message.

Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore ruled Wednesday that the law’s intent was historic preservation not discrimination. He issued a permanent injunction preventing the removal.

Moore said Friday he’ll award the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees but will weigh arguments before determining the amount.

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