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Attorney general says Virginia cities can move monuments

(AP) Virginia’s attorney general says localities can remove statues and monuments if there are no local restrictions.

Mark Herring said Friday in an advisory opinion that localities must investigate what legal restrictions apply.

Herring’s opinion comes after Charlottesville voted to drape two Confederate statues in black fabric. The City Council wants to remove the statues.

A state law passed in 1998 forbids local governments from removing war monuments. Herring wrote in Friday’s advisory opinion that law does not apply to any monument erected within an independent city before 1997.

A rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12 turned violent after white nationalists opposed to the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee clashed with counter protesters. A woman was killed when a car plowed into a crowd.

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