Blair pelted with eggs, shoes

Last Updated: Sep 05, 2010, 09:35 AM IST

London: Former British prime minister Tony Blair was Saturday pelted with eggs and shoes as the first public signing session to promote his memoirs in the Irish capital Dublin turned violent.

The protestors also surged towards Blair, who made an appearance at a bookshop to promote his book ‘A Journey’, and tried to push down a security barrier but were repelled by police.

After the signing, the former prime minister was whisked from a side entrance of the store.

Three men were arrested after they broke through a security barrier outside Eason`s bookshop on O`Connell Street in Dublin.

Protesters, who included anti-war activists, shouted "Whose cops? Blair`s cops!" as they taunted the police while Blair remained inside the bookshop.

A protester from Dublin criticised both the police and the hundreds who had turned out for the book signing: "The police are west Brits who are protecting a British terrorist and the people queuing up over there should be ashamed of themselves. All these people buying the book are traitors."

Following the skirmishes, the city tram service was suspended and shops in the surrounding area were also closed.

In his memoir, which was released earlier this week, Blair defends his decision to go to war with Iraq in 2003. The book has become one of the fastest selling autobiographies on record.

Before the signing, Blair had already enraged the anti-war movement in Ireland with comments on an Irish TV programme Friday.

During his interview, Blair warned that Iran was now one of the biggest state sponsors of radical Islam. It must be prevented from developing a nuclear weapon, even if that meant taking military action, he said.

Blair defended the decision to invade Iraq in 2003, despite Saddam Hussein not possessing weapons of mass destruction.

He tried to convince the audience that he acted against the one million people who marched in opposition to the war because he could not take decisions "based on those that shout most".

It is believed he chose Ireland for his only live interview since his memoirs` publication because he felt he would get a better hearing because of the peace he secured in Northern Ireland.

IANS

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