These men were pepper sprayed and arrested, for trying to give away books [VIDEO]

These men were pepper sprayed and arrested, for trying to give away books [VIDEO]

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Three men have been violently
arrested in Brixton for trying to give away books about black history
and culture. Following attempts to shut down their stall, the police used pepper spray, and at least ten officers were involved in the arrests.

Black Child Promotions describe themselves as:

A black owned business with the sincere mission to educate the minds, uplift the spirit and liberate the nation of black
people. We can’t afford not to know our history & our current
social, economic, physical, mental and spiritual condition on this
earth.

The not-for-profit organisation holds regular stalls in Seven
Sisters, Brixton, and Stratford, where it gives away books for
donations. One of the founders, Sulaiman Lee, said that they “have something for everyone”.

Lee further stated that:

We are targeting Black people to raise awareness in our
community. We want people to learn about the history of Black people
past and present and be inspired by their stories.

And he believes that books are the best way to do this:

We recognize now that books are a better and more effective way of spreading the information and knowledge to the community.

Arrested for giving away books

But, as the video below shows, this was not an acceptable thing to do on the streets of London:

The council official, who is trying to shut down the stall on the
basis that they are selling books, refuses to acknowledge any of the
points being made. Lee is seen on the video trying to reason with him:

You can ask any of the community, we haven’t sold one
book. If they want to leave a donation that’s up to them. The law states
that we can receive and impart information without any interference
from any public body.

But the official doesn’t listen, and wants to pack up the stall for them:

In which case I’m going to pack up for you.

Then, when questioned about why he is not shutting down the socialist
newspaper sellers, he makes a distinction between being allowed to sell
newspapers and books:

There’s a specific exemption for newspapers. This is books. You’re not allowed to do this.
And he again insists that, despite overwhelming evidence from those present, this is profit-making enterprise:
You’re making profit from the books.
Lee tries again to explain the situation:
We’re receiving and imparting information according to Article 10 of human rights legislation.
Instead of trying to calm down and diffuse the situation, a number
of police officers become involved, including plain-clothes officers who
push people out the way, deploy pepper spray, and strike the bookstall
owner several times while attempting to arrest him.

Below is a video about the project and what it is trying to achieve:

Community reaction

There were angry reactions on Twitter from people who had seen the incident, or knew the book stall:

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