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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Race activists finally pardoned
Rosa Parks after her arrest in 1955
Rosa Parks was charged for violating segregation laws
Alabama has voted to pardon those who protested against race segregation, some 50 years after Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man.

Hundreds of people got arrest records in Alabama during the civil rights struggle galvanized by Ms Parks' act of defiance in Montgomery in 1955.

The "Rosa Parks Act" lets survivors or relatives purge their records of crimes related to opposing racial segregation.

Alabama's governor has 10 days to sign the bill, passed by state lawmakers.

Tribute to courage

"It is long overdue," said Thad McClammy, a Democrat who sponsored the bill. "It will bring closure."

Some criticised the law saying the mostly African-American civil rights protesters committed no crimes and needed no pardons.

But many of the protesters had criminal records that haunted them for years and kept them from some jobs.

When Rosa Parks died in October 2005, the nation paid tribute to her courage.

The body of the civil rights icon lay in honour in Montgomery and in Washington before being returned to Detroit, the city she made her home.

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