At 9:30 this morning, people gathered on O'Connell Street In Dublin to protest against the presence of war criminal and ex British prime-minister Tony Blair. Blair arrived at Easons at around 10am for the book-signing of his recent autobiography, escorted and protected by a sizable gardai presence. Despite the heavy rain, hundreds of protestors took part. At least one protester managed to get past the heavy security to try to make a citizens arrest of Blair for his war crimes.
Red paint & shoes were thrown at Blair when he arrived. On a number of occasions, scuffles between protestors and gardai broke out when people attempted to break through the erected barriers. As usual, the gardai displayed a very aggressive attitude to protestors, as it has been confirmed that four people were arrested and brought to Store Street garda station. Protestors temporarily blockaded a garda van after a 17 year old youth was arrested and dragged away by a group of about 7 Gardai.
Tony Blair is directly responsible for the massacre of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi, Afghani and Palestinian civilians. During his time in power he acted as George Bush's puppet, and reinforced the imperialistic and repressive measures against these countries and their people. It is estimated that up to 28,000 Afghani civilians have been killed as a result of foreign military actions since the beginning of the war in 2001, and it is estimated that around 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed as a result of US led attacks between 2003 and now.
Kate O' Sullivan (left) of the Cork branch of the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign managed to evade the tight security and political police at the door of Eason's to confront Blair about his war crimes and attempt to make a citizens arrest. She said that as soon as she reached him and started speaking he looked at the ground and five men moved in and grabbed her. They held her in the stairwell for 20 minutes questioning her about her political affiliations and threatening to charge her with breach of the peace. When she pointed out she'd remained peaceful throughout and they should be arresting Blair they were forced to release here, but through a back door to prevent her being photographed. Another man reported that as he tried to enter the store he was picked out by a political policeman who addressed him by name and told him he was not allowed entry as a 'security risk'. As well as dozen of uniformed Gardai a large number of plain clothes secret police were present, some of whom filmed the large crowd of protesters.
Photo journalists outside of Eason's reported that only one photographer was allowed into Eason's and they were told they were only allowed to photograph Blair and the book and no one else. Conditions for those wanting to get a book signed included that they were not allowed to be carrying cameras or mobile phones. Clearly Blair is terrified of his publicity tour for the book backfiring but despite his precautions and the dozens of police protecting him even the mainstream news coverage concentrated on the unexpected size of the protests.
It is a disgrace that this country chose to welcome one of the biggest war-criminals in the world with open arms when a stance against his heinous crimes should have been taken. Furthermore people are suffering mass unemployment, funding is being cut from community to community, public resources continue to be slashed, and today the Irish government devoted vast amounts of resources to ensure that Blair was both welcomed and protected. This clearly shows where the government's loyalty stands; not with the people, but with the small elite who run this world. The strong sentiment at the protest today however showed that many stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, and will not tolerate the ill judgement of the ruling class.
Words: Julian & Andrew Images: Andrew
IPSC TV interviews activist Kate O'Sullivan who today - Saturday 4th September - made a citizen's arrest on former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at a book signing in Eason's in Dublin, Ireland. Unfortunately the Gardaí (Irish Police) refused to act on the arrest, preferring instead to detain Ms. O'Sullivan for half an hour in a stairwell.
Even Sky News coverage concentrated on the protests