Monday, June 29, 1998 Published at 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Scuffles suspend Lawrence inquiry
Police form a barrier across the foyer of the inquiry building
The inquiry into the killing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence was temporarily suspended on Monday morning after action by members of the Nation of Islam.
Questioning of the five men who were charged but not convicted of the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence, had begun.
Jamie Acourt, one of the five who was being questioned on the stand at the time was rushed out of the chamber by police.
One man, apparently not connected with the Nation of Islam, was bundled over as he attempted to confront Mr Acourt.
The dead teenager's mother, Doreen Lawrence, took the inquiry microphone and pleaded for calm "for the safety of everybody" and to allow the witness to continue to be questioned.
For the first time there were three uniformed policemen, wearing knife-proof vests and carrying CS spray, handcuffs and collapsible batons, inside the private room at the inquiry building.
As they entered the building there were shouts of "murderers" and "racist scum" from the crowd, but there was no trouble.
Inside the chamber, which was almost full to its 250 capacity, there was strong support for the Lawrence family. About 20 stewards from the Stephen Lawrence Family Campaign sat between the witness stand and the public gallery which contained 30 of Nation of Islam members.
The stewards were wearing t-shirts with a picture of the dead teenager on the front and the words "Murdered by racists, killers on the loose" underneath.
Inquiry chairman, Sir William Macpherson of Cluny has ruled that it is unrealistic to refer to the five men as anything other than "the suspects", but on Monday morning he repeated his decision that he would rule "on the hoof" on the admissibility of individual questions from Mr Mansfield.
But the inquiry chairman has also agreed they must not be allowed to use their appearance as a platform to maintain their innocence.
This is the first time the five men will have spoken in public about a murder that has become the most notorious racial killing in the country.