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Blair pelted with shoes, eggs

Hasan Suroor

— PHOTO: AP

A protester in Dublin on Saturday.

LONDON: Anti-war activists in Dublin hurled shoes and eggs at the British former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, on Sunday when he visited the Irish capital to launch his memoirs, A Journey, in which he defends the Iraq invasion saying he has no regrets.

Despite heavy security, one woman managed to get close enough to him and attempted a “citizen's arrest'' for “war crimes'' but was whisked away by his security team.

Police had to intervene to prevent angry demonstrators from storming the bookstore where he signed copies of the book. He was escorted into the shop by security officers as protesters, carrying placards demanding his trial for alleged war crimes.

Mr. Blair has decided to donate all earnings from the book, including a £4.5 million advance, to the Royal British Legion, an armed forces charity.

Unruly scenes prevailed outside the bookstore, Easons, on Dubln's main street, as demonstrators tried to break through the security barrier and scuffles broke out when Mr. Blair arrived .

As he emerged from his car, surrounded by securitymen, people threw shoes and eggs at him. However, none hit him. They also hurled abuses at customers who emerged from the shop carrying signed copies of the book.

Three people were arrested after clashes with police.

Despite a downpour, people started collecting outside the bookstore since early morning and their numbers swelled to about 200.

BBC's correspondent said most Dubliners “looked on in disbelief'' at the security for “a mere book-signing'' with the city's main street closed for four hours and “a ring of steel'' erected around the bookshop. It was Mr. Blair's first book-signing event since the publication of the book last week and Dublin was thought to have been chosen as the venue to highlight his role in facilitating the Northern Ireland peace process.

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