Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in Jefferson County Court against Mayor William Bell and Birmingham for covering a Confederate monument located in a public park, WIAT-TV reports.
Marshall said in a statement that erecting a plywood wall around the monument and covering it with tarp violates the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act.
“The City of Birmingham does not have the right to violate the law and leaves my office with no choice but to file suit,” Marshall stated, according to the CBS News affiliate.
Bell responded with defiance, saying through his spokesperson that Birmingham looks forward to the court clarifying the city’s right to control its public spaces. The mayor reminded his opponents that “the Confederacy was about sedition and treason.”
The news outlet said city workers covered the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a gift in 1905 from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, around 10 p.m. on Tuesday night. Bell’s order came in the aftermath of violence by White supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday, during a rally against the removal of Confederate monuments in the city.
According to Al.com, the lawsuit asks the court to impose a $25,000 fine each day that Birmingham keeps the monument covered.