What Blair says when you try and citizen’s arrest him
Tony Blair has brushed off yet another attempt to citizen's arrest him over the Iraq War.
The former prime minister was dining at a Shoreditch restaurant with a group of around eight others when the incident happened.
Twiggy Garcia told Vice magazine: "I went over to him, put my hand on his shoulder and said: 'Mr Blair, this is a citizen's arrest for a crime against peace, namely your decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq.
"'I am inviting you to accompany me to a police station to answer the charge'."
As expected, Blair declined the invitation. Instead, according to Garcia, he replied: "'No, shouldn't you be worried about Syria?'"
Garcia continued: "I replied that I can only address things that are within my grasp at any one time. Then he asked me, 'But don't you agree that Saddam was a brutal dictator and he needed to be removed?' and I replied 'Not by an illegal war'. Then he started talking about how lots of people died in the 1980s."
The Office of Tony Blair issued a statement pointing out the ex-PM was open to debate the pros and cons of his decision to support the 2003 decision to oust Saddam Hussein from power.
A spokesperson said: "There is nothing to report here apart from fact that Mr Blair did offer to discuss the issue – that offer was declined and the individual walked off. Nothing else happened. Everyone is fine and they had a great time at the restaurant.”
Garcia's attempt to bring Blair to justice for his involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq is the fifth citizen's arrest attempt encouraged by the website arrestblair.org, set up by columnist and author George Monbiot.
"The purpose is to keep the issue in the public eye, remind people a great crime has been done and that there's been no justice served as a result of that crime," he told Politics.co.uk.
"In itself, it won't lead to a reconfiguration of global justice, but it helps to create a different political environment and then that in turn hopefully creates more pressure to ensure that crimes like this don't go unpunished in future."
Not all those who perform citizen's arrests on Blair will be doing so for purely political reasons, as Monbiot's website promises those who follow its rules 25% of the funds it has raised.
Previous arrest attempts have resulted in payouts of between £2,400 and £3,200. With the current pot standing at £8,590.18, according to the website, Garcia is set to receive a similar amount.
"If they try to arrest Mr Blair because they care about the people he has killed, so much the better," the website states.
"But if they do it only for the money, that is fine too, and we will have encouraged an attempt which would not otherwise have taken place."
In Garcia's case it seems clear his motivation was political. He added: "I hope that it will keep people from forgetting that he is a war criminal.
"I hope one day he faces his charges in The Hague. People seem to think that those laws only apply to Nazis and African warlords."
Blair endured the fourth attempt at a citizen's arrest last June.