COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Shoe stunt promotes landmines campaign

Handicap International's fledgling UK section is to mount its biggest-ever publicity stunt by building a pyramid of shoes in London's Trafalgar Square in November.

In tandem with events in Paris and Luxembourg, thousands of people are expected to bring along a pair of shoes that will become part of a structure symbolising limbs or lives lost through unexploded ordnance. A similar event took place on 13 June in Baghdad.

The event is on 1 November and launches the Stamp Out Landmines campaign to mark the start of Landmine Action Week from 3-9 November. It aims to raise support for the Clear-Up campaign, headed by UK body Landmine Action, which lobbies for stricter international laws on munitions such as the cluster bomb.

The 'pyramid of shoes' event has drawn crowds of up to 100,000 in Paris and Geneva, with 60,000 signing petitions in the French capital. More than 24 tonnes of shoes have been collected and passed on to other charitable organisations.

Along with press and PR activity, the charity is publicising the event through leaflets and posters in public places such as universities and libraries.

The charity, which was set up in 1999, says the event is fun and informative, with activities for children and mine clearing demonstrations. Those attending can sign a petition against landmines and cluster bombs.

Handicap International UK has been galvanising support among MPs, and next year will run a poster campaign alongside a series of events including a conference on cluster bombs in Geneva at the end of November.

During the conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, it is estimated that at least 50,000 minibombs, such as those contained in cluster bombs, became unexploded munitions.

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