Walls go up around Confederate monument in Birmingham, Alabama

Source WBRC video

Birmingham mayor William Bell is ordering the confederate monument in Linn Park to be covered while the city looks into legal options to remove it. Allen says the Memorial Preservation Act is meant to preserve all of Alabama's history.

There is confusion about whether the fine for obstructing or altering Confederate monuments carries a fine of $25,000 per day or per violation under the law passed by the legislature past year. He further suggested that a judge may decide to limit the accumulation of the fine, if it is indeed ruled that the penalty is $25,000 per day, because the issue is being litigated.

Allen also said he is hopeful Alabamians can have a thoughtful discussion over the appropriate place for monuments to those who died during the Civil War. As such, it's culturally and historically significant, the state claims.

"This is not an effort to punish the city of Birmingham financially", he said. Instead, they see the city as the birthplace of the civil rights movement.

"I am not in the business to break the law, I am charged to protect", Bell said. "Mr. Mayor, tear down those statues".

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"More than 50 years ago in a cell just a few blocks from where we sit today, Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] instructed us on the importance of identifying and defying unjust laws", Austin said in a statement. "In a letter from the Birmingham jail, he advised us, 'Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.' There is nothing more degrading than slavery, or the rejection of the fundamental principle that all men are created equal". "The so-called 'lost cause" of the Confederacy degraded African Americans and any celebration of that gives life to that cause.

Alabama's lawsuit alleges Bell plans to cover the monument indefinitely, surrounding it with plywood.

The Birmingham mayor's office says it's looking at ways to challenge the state law restricting the city's authority to remove the memorial. "We're not proud of the lynching that took place".

Marshall said the law, passed by the Alabama Legislature this year, requires the Attorney General to intervene if a local government tries to move or alter a monument that is at least 40 years old.

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