The Virgin Mary
Statuette of Virgin Mary are displayed in a religious articles shop on the second day of the French Bishops Conference (CEF) in Lourdes, France, Nov. 5, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

An administrative court in the eastern French town of Publier has ordered to remove a statue of Virgin Mary in compliance with a nationwide ban on display of religious symbols in public, according to the town's Mayor Gaston Lacroix. If not removed within the specified deadline, the town will be fined $105 a day for the violation.

Lacroix said he will try to relocate the statue on private land. The town has three months to remove the Virgin Mary statue, according to the Nov. 24 judgment.

The statue has stood in Publier’s public park since 2011 and has come under fire since it was installed using municipal funding but without any debate in the municipal council, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. It was then sold to a religious cultural association that was barred from buying the piece of land it stood on. This meant that the statue remained on public property violating French rules in connection to religious symbols in public places.

France — considered one of the most secular countries in the world — draws a strong line between religion and public life. In 2010, it became the first country in Europe to ban the Muslim veil in public places.

In August, several French towns banned the Islamic full-body swimsuits for women, triggering public ire. These bans were, however, overturned by the country’s top administrative court.

In 2004, France banned headscarves and other religious symbols in its state schools.