FORMER PRIME MINISTER Tony Blair has cancelled his planned book signing appearance in London this week amid security fears over a planned protest.
Blair was heckled and eggs and shoes were thrown at him when he appeared in Dublin for a book signing at Eason’s on O’Connell St.
Gardaí arrested four people protesting over the Iraq war and Blair’s role in the Northern Ireland peace process outside the bookshop. One person who attempted to enact a citizen’s arrest on Blair for his role in the Iraq war was quickly ejected from Easons by gardaí. The Luas was closed to the area for a short time on Saturday.
Despite the trouble, Blair insisted today that he “very much enjoyed” meeting his readers in Dublin, “and was looking forward to doing the same in London.”
The former Labour party leader was due to appear at Waterstone’s book shop in Picadilly, London. Blair said in a statement today that the cancellation was “to avoid the inconvenience to the public it would have caused”.
His statement continues:
However, I have decided not to go ahead with the signing as I don’t want the public to be inconvenienced by the inevitable hassle caused by protesters. I know the Metropolitan police would, as ever, have done a superb job in managing any disruption but I do not wish to impose an extra strain on police resources, simply for a book signing.
The protests don’t seem to be doing Blair’s book sales any harm, according to the Telegraph. His memoirs, entitled A Journey, outsold all other books at Waterstones when it was released last week, and instantly went to the top of the Amazon charts.
There are over 100 Facebook pages dedicated to Tony Blair, both in support of the former PM and in protest at the decisions he took while in office. One encourages people to take a copy of A Journey and put it “in the crime section of your bookshop”.