A federal lawsuit is challenging a city plan to remove prominent Confederate monuments by charging that the city doesn't own the land under three of the monuments and they are protected from removal by state and federal laws.

The suit, filed shortly after the City Council voted Thursday to remove four monuments, asks U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans to halt removal plans.

The city is relying on an ordinance that allows it to take down monuments on public property or under its control considered a "nuisance" because they foster dangerous and unlawful ideologies of supremacy and may become rallying points for violent demonstrations.

The suit was filed by four historic preservation groups challenging the city on multiple legal fronts.