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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
City already 'sorry for slavery'
Detail of an etching showing the cramped conditions on board slave ships
Much of Bristol's wealth was founded on the slave trade
Bristol apologised for its role in slavery more than 20 years ago, despite a new debate, it has been revealed.

Earlier this week, hundreds of people took part in a meeting to discuss the city's part in the slave trade, and voted in favour of a formal apology.

But the organisers of a civic ceremony in 1982 say Bristol said sorry for its slavery links back then.

They say the former Bishop Of Clifton, Mervyn Alexander asked forgiveness for the human misery caused by the trade.

Abolition anniversary

The special prayers were said during a service to bless Bristol's maritime flag, which was attended by numerous dignitaries.

One, listed in the event's order of service, read: "We ask God to forgive our past, for the human misery inflicted by the trade in slaves, and for the injustices shown to their descendants today."

The panel at a debate on Bristol's part in the slave trade
The audience at a debate on the issue voted in favour of an apology

It is thought the revelation may weaken calls for any further expression of regret from the city.

But those in favour of an apology say the previous comments do not go far enough.

Simba Tongagara, of St Paul's Unlimited, said: "It is going in the right direction, but what we in the Afro-Caribbean community want to see is a national forum where these issues can be debated and dealt with."

Much of Bristol's wealth was founded on the profits of slavery, although slaves themselves were not brought to the city in any great numbers.

Next year Bristol is to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery with a 250,000 programme of events.

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