CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Charlottesville’s effort to remove Confederate statues has failed following a civil trial.

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

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.

The planned removal of the Lee statue prompted a white nationalist rally in 2017 the ended in the death of counter protester Heather Heyer.

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Information from: The Daily Progress, http://www.dailyprogress.com

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