Irish protesters hurl bottles, eggs, shoes at Tony Blair during book signing
More than 200 noisy demonstrators, many chanting slogans criticising Blair over the 2003Â IraqÂ war, had gathered for the event and witnesses said plastic bottles and flip-flops were thrown at him as his motorcade arrived.
None of the objects — also reported to include eggs and shoes — landed near the former premier as protestors surged towards a security barrier separating them from him before being repelled by police.
One woman said she tried to make a citizen’s arrest on Blair once he was inside the bookshop where the event was taking place.
“After I went through airport-like security to get to Mr Blair, I told him I was there to make a citizen’s arrest on him for war crimes committed in Iraq,” saidÂ Kate O’Sullivan, an activist from the IrelandÂ Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
“Mr Blair looked down and I was immediately grabbed by five security men and dragged away.”
A police spokesman would not give a precise figure for the number of people who were arrested at the protest but said it was in single figures.
Blair was carrying out the signing to publicise “A Journey”, his account of his decade inÂ Downing StreetÂ from 1997 to 2007, which was released earlier this week.
In the book, he said he “can’t regret” the decision to go to war in Iraq alongside thenUSÂ presidentÂ George W. BushÂ but acknowledged that he did not foresee the “nightmare” which was unleashed in the aftermath.
He will hold another book signing inÂ LondonÂ Wednesday which anti-war activists are also pledging to target.
In Dublin, the demonstrators waved placards with slogans such as “Blair lied, millions died” and “Lock him up for genocide” and chanted amid a heavy police presence.
Part of the city’s main thoroughfare, O’Connell Street, where the bookshop is located, was sealed off and access inside was being tightly controlled.
Several hundred people braved pouring rain to queue at a back entrance to the store in the hope of getting their book signed by Blair.
Killian Kiely, a 21-year-old from south Dublin, was among those who got to meet him.
“I wanted to see him, he is one of the most important leaders of his generation though there is a lot I would disagree with about his policies,” he said. “I just wanted to see him in the flesh.”
But many hoping to meet Blair were left disappointed when he left after about an hour-and-a-half of signing.
In his first live television interview promoting the book on Friday, Blair brushed off the opposition he still faces from anti-war campaigners, seven years after the Iraq invasion.
“One of the first things that you learn in politics is that those who shout most don’t deserve necessarily to be listened to most,” he told Irish state television RTE.
“Everyone should be listened to equally, irrespective of the volume of noise.”
In a fresh sign of continuing opposition, over 2,500 people have joined a group on social networking websiteÂ FacebookÂ calling for shoppers to move Blair’s book to the crime section in bookshops.
Blair, who reportedly received a 4.6 million pound (5.6 million euro, 7.2 million dollar) advance for the book, will donate all proceeds to theÂ Royal British Legion, a charity helping war veterans.
Despite continuing controversy over the Iraq conflict, Blair is particularly hailed by many in Ireland for his key role in theÂ Northern IrelandÂ peace process.
This video of raw footage from the Irish protest of Tony Blair’s first book signing was published to YouTube by Russia Today on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010.