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Tuesday, October 6, 1998 Published at 02:30 GMT 03:30 UK


Mansfield QC: Protect civil rights

Michael Mansfield: "This country lacks a civil rights movement"

The lawyer who represents the family of Stephen Lawrence has urged Britons to hold a demonstration to coincide with the report into police handling of the teenager's murder.

Michael Mansfield QC told an anti-racist campaign meeting he would like to see a civil rights movement grow up in the UK.

He told the Monitoring Group: "What's missing in this country is a civil rights movement."

Mr Mansfield said the publication of the Lawrence report, which is expected in February, should be marked with gathering across Britain.

These would be attended by both blacks and whites who are "concerned with issues of justice", Mr Mansfield said.

He called for "a meeting in which people come together, have a common feeling of solidarity and work out for the future a programme for everyone in which everyone can participate".

He said that without this the present government could destroy fundamental freedoms.

"The rights that we hold dear are being eroded just as fast by this government as they were by the last," he said.

Mr Mansfield said grassroots activism would convince the politicians not to ignore civil rights concerns.

"When the voice is heard and they realise there's power behind the voice, then they start to make the change," he said.

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