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Gypsies a Racial Group

A decision by three Appeal Court judges in July 1988 that gypsies are a distinct racial group entitled to the protection of the 1976 Race Relations Act was hailed as a major victory by the Commission for Racial Equality.

The case came about as a result of a sign posted on the door of a pub in east London barring travellers. The ruling was given at a test case brought by the Commission claiming that the former landlord had acted unlawfully by displaying the sign.

The decision delighted the Commission for Racial Equality who said that it would have far reaching implications in education, housing and many other fields. One important consequence would be that gypsies would be covered by the incitement to racial hatred provisions of the Public Order Act.

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