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Pedlars selling ‘torture tools’ down Brick Lane in Amnesty International demo

PUBLISHED: 09:48 03 November 2014 | UPDATED: 10:35 03 November 2014

Protest by Amnesty International against 'tools of torture' sales [photos: Jess Hurd]

Protest by Amnesty International against 'tools of torture' sales [photos: Jess Hurd]

Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk

Crowd-storming activists took to the streets to ask shoppers in the City and London’s East End to buy their “tools of torture”.

Thumbs up for Amnesty International demo against 'tools of torture' sales such as thumb-screwsThumbs up for Amnesty International demo against 'tools of torture' sales such as thumb-screws

Supporters of Amnesty International dressed as street pedlars with sandwich boards and ‘selling’ trays.

They converged on Brick Lane and Liverpool Street station on Saturday, hawking their deadly wares to interest passers-by in thumbscrews, electro-shock handcuffs and spiked-baton ‘sting’ sticks.

“Obviously we’re not actually selling real-life torture equipment in Brick Lane,” Amnesty International’s Oliver Sprague assured.

“But it’s shocking that someone can perfectly legally sit in an office and set up a deal to sell 10,000 Chinese-made thumbscrews to a police force in Iran or Nigeria.”

The spoof pedlars from Amnesty International’s HQ in Shoreditch were showing prospective ‘buyers’ highly persuasive advertisement cards which showed “benefits” of buying the products for the “efficient delivery of pain, based on a tried-and tested method” as part of their Apprentice-style street selling tactics.

Sprague added: “We want to open people’s eyes to the startling fact that the EU is still allowing unscrupulous torture merchants to operate within its borders.”

It is illegal to buy or sell torture equipment in the UK or export them from Britain, the campaigners point out.

But it is “perfectly lawful under present loopholes” in trade regulations to advertise them and even arrange their sale abroad, as long as they do not enter the EU.

The organisation is running an online Amnesty petition calling for EU ‘brokering’ deals to be outlawed by the European Parliament.


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