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FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama city has taken a step toward removing a Confederate monument following weeks of pressure.

The Florence City Council voted Tuesday to ask the state for permission to move the memorial from outside the Lauderdale County Courthouse, WHNT-TV reported. Other places have sought similar state waivers, which are required because of a law that imposes a $25,000 fine for disturbing such memorials.

The city also asked county commissioners to relocate the monument as soon as possible.

Dedicated in 1903 during a ceremony that included an overtly racist speech, the memorial was erected by Confederate descendants. It went up at a time many whites were advocating the "lost cause" version of history that played down slavery as a cause for the Civil War and emphasized the nobility of Confederate fighters.

Demonstrators organized by a racial justice group, Project Say Something, have been protesting the monument for weeks during a national reckoning over race that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

The monument, which features a Confederate statue atop a stone pedestal, would be moved to the Florence City Cemetery.

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