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Sue Ogrocki, Associated Press
An Oklahoma State Highway Patrol car is parked near the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the state Capitol in Oklahoma City, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. The Highway Patrol has increased security around the controversial monument as a court-ordered deadline looms for the sculpture to be removed.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Workers have started to remove a granite monument of the Ten Commandments from the Oklahoma Capitol grounds.

A contractor the state hired began removing the monument around 10:30 p.m. Monday. Its removal comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court determined the display violates a constitutional prohibition on the use of public property to support a "system of religion."

Office of Management and Enterprise Services spokesman John Estus said the state is paying the contractor $4,700 to remove the six-foot-tall sculpture.

Estus said the monument will be taken to a private conservative think tank, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, which has agreed to store it.

Estus said the decision to remove the monument at night was to minimize the distraction to workers in the building and to prevent public demonstrations.