Shoe, eggs hurled at Tony Blair in Dublin

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
September 4, 2010 19:04

Over 200 demonstrators say former British PM has "blood on his hands" as he arrives in Irish capital for first public signing of his memoir, "A Journey."

2 minute read.



A protester demonstrates outside Eason book store

Tony Blair war criminal poster 311. (photo credit: AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

DUBLIN — Protesters hurled shoes and eggs Saturday as Tony Blair  held the first public signing of his memoir amid high security in the Irish capital. Hundreds more people lined up to have their books autographed — evidence that the divisions left by Blair's decade as British leader have yet to heal.

Blair's new book, "A Journey," is a best-seller, but it has angered opponents of his policies, especially the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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About 200 demonstrators chanted that Blair had "blood on his hands" as the former prime minister arrived at a Dublin book store. A shoe, eggs and other projectiles were thrown toward Blair as he emerged from a car, but did not hit him. A flip-flop could be seen lying on the roof of a BMW in Blair's motorcade.

Security was tight, with book buyers — who appeared to outnumber the protesters by about two to one — told to hand over bags and mobile phones before entering Eason's book store on O'Connell Street, Dublin's main shopping thoroughfare.

There were scuffles between police and demonstrators when some tried to force their way through the security cordon. Two protesters were arrested and bundled into the back of a security van. Several demonstrators, including one wheelchair user, laid themselves in the van's path, and riot police were brought in to remove them.

Blair spent about two hours in the store before emerging to more shouts, boos and hurled eggs. He was quickly driven away, as a police helicopter circled overhead.

"Blair took the world to war in Iraq and Afghanistan on the basis of lies," said protester Donal MacFhearraigh. He said Blair should be indicted as a war criminal.

Another protester, 24-year-old Kate O'Sullivan, said she was bundled away by security guards after approaching Blair in the store and trying to perform a citizen's arrest.

Confrontation erupted again once Blair had left, as police stopped demonstrators from entering the book store.

Many of the demonstrators then marched to the police station where the two who were arrested were being held to continue their protest there.

Released this week, "A Journey" is Amazon's best-selling title in Britain, and has climbed into the top 10 on the online retailer's US chart.

Blair was paid a 4 million pound ($7 million) advance for the memoir, which mounts a strong defense of his policies during his years as prime minister from 1997 to 2007, including the invasion of Iraq.


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