Tony Blair pelted with eggs and shoes as he begins publicity trail
Neil Michael – Daily Mail.com September 4, 2010
Shoes and eggs were pelted at Tony Blair in Dublin today as he attended his first public signing of his controversial memoir.
The missiles, which were thrown by anti-war protesters, did not hit the former prime minister as he arrived at a bookshop in Dublin.
Activists clashed with Gardai as they tried to push down a security barrier outside the Eason store on O'Connell Street.
Campaigners, who turned out in the pouring rain, were chanting: 'Hey hey Tony hey, how many kids have you killed today?' They also shouted: "Tony Blair war criminal" and "blood on your hands".
Undercover detectives mingled with the crowds taking names before Mr Blair arrived at the shop at about 10.30am.
The city tram service was suspended as Gardai blocked off streets surrounding the city centre store.
As Mr Blair remained in the shop and signed books for the hundreds who had queued since early this morning the protest continued outside.
Richard Boyd-Barrett, of the Anti-War Movement, accused Mr Blair of making blood money from the memoirs.
He said: 'It really is shameful that somebody can be responsible for the death and destruction that he was responsible for in Iraq and Afghanistan and walk away without any accounting for that and become a very wealthy man off the back of it.'
Protesters shouted abuse at customers and supporters of Mr Blair as they left the store with their newly-signed books.
And hundreds of protesters booed as Mr Blair left the book store after just over two hours inside.
A line of Gardai had to stand across the glass front of the bookshop to stop angry demonstrators getting access to the building.
A Gardai spokesman said a small number of people had been arrested during the demonstration.
Mr Blair is believed to have flown into the country in a private jet, courtesy of Harper Collins – publishers of the autobiography he is plugging.
Travelling with him were around 12 members of his 16-strong €19,250-a-day security team, who will stay close to him throughout his stay in Ireland.
About two hours before he arrived at the Shelbourne Hotel last night – where he is believed to be staying in the Princess Grace suite – gardaí closed off a nearby taxi rank and placed a string of cones around the entrance of the hotel.
Security staff who had arrived ahead of Blair days beforehand were seen making last-minute security checks around his suite, surrounding floors and the five-star hotel’s lobby.
Then at about 4pm, the Blair cavalcade – led by gardaí outriders - swung round from Kildare Street and stopped directly outside the main entrance to the hotel. The ex-premier emerged from his chauffeur-driven BMW and was almost immediately surrounded by a group of eight bodyguards.
At least two of them appeared to be wearing bullet-proof jackets under their dark suits.
At least ten gardaí officers were also on hand to keep a close eye on him and a small crowd of onlookers that had gathered momentarily on his arrival.
Dressed casually in light blue denim jeans, an open blue shirt and a thick blue sports jacket, he turned briefly and waved to onlookers.
Mr Blair was then ushered inside the main lobby where other guests were politely asked to stand to one side while he was led into an open lift.
After a brief refreshment break, he then spent more than two hours giving back-to-back interviews, including a pre-recorded one with Pat Kenny.
In one interview, he was asked about derogatory comments in his biography about his successor, Gordon Brown.
He told the reporter he was still friends with Mr Brown, that they had had a falling out and that the UK press had exaggerated difficulties the two men had had.
The level of security surrounding this visit is almost unprecedented. But it is considered necessary because Mr Blair is regarded as an assassination target by terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda.
So seriously is the threat to his life that it is estimated he is protected 24 hours a day.
Every time he travels abroad, Scotland Yard sends an ‘advance team’ to assess potential security risks. Every aspect of Blair’s route will have been pored over for any potential security issues.
A UK security source said last night: ‘A team will have arrived in Dublin days, if not weeks before Blair arrived. They will have looked at every aspect of his stay to try and find any weaknesses in any security arrangements.
‘They will have even made sure that any local hospitals are on full alert.’
Today, Mr Blair will face protesters at his planned book launch in O’Connell Street.
He will attend a book signing for the launch of his memoirs, A Journey, at Easons.
Mr Blair has been described as a ‘war criminal’ by activists.
But yesterday his arrival in Dublin’s city centre was greeted with little more than curious stares from passing tourists.
Indeed, for most of the Irish Anti-War Movement’s protest outside the gates to RTÉ’s Late Late studios, the number of Jedward fans outnumbered their own
Video of protests
Last updated 06/09/2010