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NEW ORLEANS (AP) – An appeals court has cleared the way for the city of New Orleans to take down three Confederate-era monuments that have been a source of tension in the Southern city.

A ruling Monday by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans lifts an injunction blocking the removal.

The City Council voted in December 2015 to remove the monuments after a series of heated public meetings.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu urged the monuments’ removal after police said a white supremacist who posed for photos with the Confederate battle flag killed nine parishioners inside an African-American church in South Carolina in June 2015.

But their removal has been sharply controversial in a city where passions over the Civil War still run strong.

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