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Monday, August 17, 1998 Published at 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK


Motorists held up by school closure protest

Children from the school were involved in the demonstration

A busy London street has been blocked by more than 150 men, women and children protesting against the proposed closure of a school for black pupils.

The parents and pupils, all members of the Nation of Islam, a black militant group, are campaigning against a local authority's decision to evict them from a community centre where they hold the school.

The protest against the closure of the Star Chamber Academy, a Muslim school set up by members of the Nation of Islam in west London, took place outside Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall.

[ image: Leo Muhammad:
Leo Muhammad: "It is a travesty of justice and a violation of our human rights"
Leo Muhammad, a spokesman for the Nation of Islam, said: "We are taking this action as a last resort."

Hammersmith and Fulham had the second highest level of expulsions in the country last year, he said.

"We believe we can educate our children in order that they can have a future."

The protest dispersed quietly when the council, which says the building is needed for use by other community groups, offered to meet representatives of the Nation of Islam.

The head of communications at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Louise Raisey, said: "We have offered the Nation of Islam a meeting on Friday to try and sort this problem out. We hope that this will be successful."

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