New lawsuit opposes plans to remove Lee statue in Virginia


FILE – In this June 8, 2020 file photo an inspection crew from the Virginia Department of General Services takes measurements as they inspect the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. Six property owners along Monument Avenue in Virginia’s capital city filed a lawsuit Monday, June 15, 2020 seeking to stop Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration from removing the towering statue. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, file)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Six property owners in Virginia’s capital city of Richmond have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration from removing a towering statue there to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The lawsuit challenges Northam’s authority to order removal of the Lee statue from Monument Avenue in the ex-capital of the Confederacy.

Northam’s spokeswoman says the governor considers the statue a “divisive symbol.”

The governor recently ordered its removal, citing the pain gripping the country over the death in police custody of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis.

Richmond’s Confederate monuments became rallying points for protesters in recent days.

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