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Blair scraps London book signing, fearing repeat of Dublin protests

Video by Olivia SALAZAR WINSPEAR

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-09-06

His memoirs may be selling “fantastically”, but former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has cancelled a London book-signing session after anti-war protestors threw eggs and shoes at the ex-premier at a similar signing in Dublin.

Tony Blair has cancelled a book-signing session in London, after a similar appearance in Dublin over the weekend was greeted by crowds of anti-war protesters hurling shoes and eggs at the former British premier.
 
Blair said he did not want “the public to be inconvenienced by the inevitable hassle caused by protesters,” during his appearance on Wednesday at Waterstone’s book shop in central London.

“I do not wish to impose an extra strain on police resources simply for a book signing,” he said in a statement.

“You end up just causing a lot of hassle for people and cost when there are better things for the police to do and it’s not as if we need to do it,” Blair said, adding that the book was “selling fantastically.”

“It is sad at the same time, frankly. If people want to have a book signed, people should protest but not try and physically prevent you doing it.”

‘A matter of regret’

Anti-war demonstrators protesting against Blair’s decision to join the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq hurled shoes and eggs at him in Dublin on Saturday.

Britain's Stop the War Coalition said it would stage a major demonstration outside Waterstone's in London to coincide with the signing which was scheduled for Monday.

In a statement released before Blair cancelled his Wednesday appearance, the group said: "If Mr Blair now cancels his book signing, it will be a victory for the anti-war movement and for everyone who views the event as offensive."

Waterstone’s managing director Dominic Myers said he regretted the cancellation of the signing.

"Because of the likely actions of a minority, our customers are now not able to meet a three-time elected prime minister of the United Kingdom, whose book has become our fastest-selling autobiography ever,” he said.

Blair was paid a 4-million-pound ($7-million) advance for his political memoir “A Journey”, which mounts a strong defence of his policies during his years as prime minister from 1997 to 2007.

The book is currently at the top of online retailer Amazon’s British rankings and in the US top 10. 

Date created : 2010-09-06

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