More than 3,000 people marched through the streets ofLondon on Saturday to mark the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in Britain.

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Marchers in London march in apology for Britain's historic role in the world slave trade. ((CBC))

The march, called a "Walk of Witness," was led by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Archbishop of York John Sentamu. The two prelates conducted a service at the end of the march.

Somemarchers wore black t-shirts to apologize for the slave trade, while others wore shackles around their wriststo remindpeople of the horrorsof slavery.

"The intention of today is not only to renew that act of repentance, not just an apology but repentance, acknowledgement that we were part of this terrible history, but also to wake people up to where we are now, the fact there still are problems," Williams was quoted as saying by BBC News.

"It's an opportunity to involve people whose ancestors were involved in this, who are still feeling the effects of it, and so bring to light some of what it meant, some of what it cost."

The event was organized to commemorate the bicentenary of the act for the abolition of the slave trade on March 25, 1807. The actual anniversary is Sunday, whilea national service is scheduled Tuesday at Westminster Abbey.

Lee Jasper, a race equality campaigner who works for the mayor of London, told CBC News that the anniversary is painful but important.

"Slavery constituted the mass murder of millions of Africans. The modern conception of racism was born. The modern descendants of slaves still continue to bear their slavemasters' names. These are issues that need recognition," Jasper said.

Last year, the Church of England, which had slaves on plantations in the Caribbean,apologized forits role in the transatlantic slave trade.


With files from the Associated Press