Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Slavery protester disrupts Westminster service

A protester demanding an apology for slavery got within yards of the Queen and Tony Blair at a service to mark the abolition of the trade yesterday. The bicentennial commemoration in Westminster Abbey ground to a halt when Toyin Agbetu, 39, suddenly strode out in front of the altar shouting, "you should be ashamed" and "this is an insult to us". Security guards ran to subdue him as the Queen and Prince Phillip looked on. Outside the Abbey, Mr Agbetu said: "The Queen has to say sorry. There was no mention of the African freedom-fighters. This is just a memorial for William Wilberforce." He had been invited to the ceremony as the founder of an African pressure group called Ligali. The Queen had not been in any danger, insisted Major General David Burden, the receiver general of Abbey. Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York and Britain's first black archbishop, said he was glad the protester, who was later arrested, had been allowed to speak but added: "I hope the depth of anger he expressed is matched by that he should have towards those African chiefs who grew fat through the capture and sale of their kith and kin for trinkets." Other guests included the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, and the Tory leader David Cameron.

Link to Telegraph.co.uk