MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Satanic Temple on the East Coast is seeking $35,000 in damages after a southern Minnesota city scrapped its free speech zone, effectively denying the group from erecting a monument in a veterans park.

The Jordan Independent reports that the city of Belle Plaine received a letter on Oct. 10 demanding damages, plus attorney’s fees and costs, from the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts.

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The monument created by The Satanic Temple (credit: CBS)

The Satanic Temple had planned to erect a monument to veterans in the city’s short-lived free speech zone. It would have been the first Satanic monument on public property in U.S. history.

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The city had initially allowed the monument after the creation of a free speech zone in a veterans park following a dispute between townspeople and a religious freedom group.

The dispute started a year ago after a statue with a soldier kneeling before a cross was placed in the veterans park. A watchdog group then threatened a lawsuit over the statue’s Christian imagery, objecting that it shouldn’t be allowed to stand on public land.

In response, the city created a free speech zone to allow monuments to be put up by various groups. But when the first group to propose a monument was the Satanic Temple, there was immediately concern and protests were planned.

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In July, the city moved to eliminate the free speech area, thereby denying the Satanic Temple and any other monuments with religious imagery.