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(AP photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s highest court ruled Thursday that the city of Charlottesville can take down two statues of Confederate generals, including one of Robert E. Lee that became the focus of a violent white nationalist rally in 2017.

The state Supreme Court overturned a Circuit Court decision in favor of a group of residents who sued to block the city from taking down the Lee statue and a nearby monument to fellow Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. Charlottesville’s city council voted to remove both.

The Jackson statue was erected in Jackson Park in 1921 and the Lee statue was erected in Lee Park in 1924.

In Thursday’s decision, State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Goodwyn said both statues were erected long before the passage of a law regulating the “disturbance of or interference with” war memorials or monuments.

“In other words, (the law) did not provide the authority for the City to erect the Statues, and it does not prohibit the City from disturbing or interfering with them,” Goodwyn wrote.

Read the entire court ruling here:

http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinions/opnscvwp/1200790.pdf