A judge has indefinitely extended an injunction preventing the governor of the US state of Virginia from removing a historic statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge Bradley Cavedo made the decision after hearing from lawyers for the state and for the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Governor Ralph Northam.

He gave the plantiff another 21 days to refile a new complaint.

The 12-ton, 21-foot-tall statue has stood in a prominent spot along Monument Avenue since 1890.

Mr Northam, a Democrat, recently ordered its removal earlier this month, citing the pain gripping the country over the killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who pleaded for air as a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck.

Mr Floyd’s death has sparked global protests that participants have vowed to turn into a sustained movement focused on addressing racial injustice and police brutality.

It has also led to an intense reexamination of statues and monuments of historical figures in the South and around the world.

The Lee statue in Richmond has become a rallying point for demonstrators during more than two weeks of protests.

Its enormous pedestal has been covered in graffiti.

The governor has said he is confident in his authority to remove the statue.

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