A group of peace campaigners have said that they were planning to attempt a citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair at his book signing in London on Wednesday (8 September), which has now been cancelled.
Symon Hill, Chris Wood, Anna Clark and Kathleen Bright said that they had been planning to join the queue at the book signing. On arriving at the front, they would have told the former Prime Minister, "This is a citizen’s arrest for crimes against peace".
They described themselves as an informal group acting as concerned citizens, committed to nonviolence. Some of the group cite Christian faith as their motivation.
Blair had been planning to sign copies of his memoir, A Journey, in Waterstone's bookshop in Piccadilly, London. But this afternoon (6 September), he announced the cancellation of the event, following the scale of protests at his earlier book signing in Dublin.
Blair referred to fears of violence, but campaigners insist they were planning peaceful protest.
“Tony Blair’s role in the destruction and devastation in Iraq has made him so unpopular that he seems afraid to meet the public," said Symon Hill, "The vast majority of protesters at the book signing would have been peaceful".
The campaigners pointed out that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told Parliament that the invasion of Iraq was illegal, but no charges have been brought.
Hill added, "As Christians, we are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who frequently challenged the abuse of power and took direct action when he confronted the moneychangers in the Jerusalem Temple".
When Blair signed copies of his book in Dublin on Saturday (4 September), one customer, Kate O'Sullivan, attempted to make a citizen's arrest when she reached the front of the queue. She was removed from the building by security personnel.
As UK Prime Minister in 2003, Tony Blair launched an invasion of Iraq along with US President George Bush. Critics point out that no approval was given by the United Nations. Claims that the Iraqi regime owned weapons of mass destruction were found to be inaccurate.