(File Photo)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans City Council has voted in favor of removing prominent monuments commemorating the pro-slavery Confederate South along some of its busiest streets.

The council’s 6-1 vote on Thursday afternoon allows the city to remove four monuments, including a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that has stood at the center of a traffic circle for 131 years.

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The decision to take down the monuments came after months of impassioned debate. Now, the city faces possible lawsuits seeking to keep the monuments where they are.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu first proposed taking down these monuments after police said a white supremacist killed nine parishioners inside the African-American Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June.

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Anti-Confederate sentiment has grown since then around the country, along with protests against police mistreatment, as embodied by the Black Lives Matter movement.

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