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Shoreditch barman attempts citizen’s arrest of Tony Blair for “war crimes”

PUBLISHED: 17:30 23 January 2014 | UPDATED: 18:31 23 January 2014

Tony Blair who has played down an attempt by a bar worker to arrest him at a trendy London restaurant. Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Tony Blair who has played down an attempt by a bar worker to arrest him at a trendy London restaurant. Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A barman in trendy Shoreditch restaurant Tramshed tried to place former PM Tony Blair under citizen’s arrest for war crimes as he was out dining with family and friends on Monday night.

The former Tramshed employee, Twiggy Garcia, placed his hand on the politician’s shoulder and told him he was making a citizen’s arrest on the grounds that he was a “war criminal” who had launched an “unprovoked war against Iraq”, and asked him to accompany him to a police station to answer the charge.

The DJ had wanted to make a citizen’s arrest of Blair for several years and was in “disbelief” he finally had the opportunity when he came to dine in the restaurant owned by Mark Hix in Rivington Street.

“My heart rate increased when I found out he was in the building, there was a eerie presence, which some of the other staff noticed too,” he said.

“His security people were sitting at the bar directly in front of me and I got nervous because I thought they overheard me say, “Should I citizen’s arrest him?”

After pondering the prospect for a while and finding out how to undertake the task on the ArrestBlair website, he phoned a friend who told him to go for it, so he approached him.

“He (Blair) said, “No, shouldn’t you be worried about Syria?” and I replied that I can only address things that are within my grasp at any one time,” said Mr Garcia.

“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.

“I paraphrased Robin Cook’s resignation speech and asked why we needed to go to war to remove a power we put in place, and didn’t our government and the US provide Saddam with those weapons in the first place?”

As Mr Blair kept trying to change the subject to discuss Syria, his son went to find plain clothes security downstairs - at which point Mr Garcia quit his job and left the restaurant.

He was the fifth person to place Blair under citizen’s arrest.

“I believe Blair is responsible for the mass murder of Iraqi civilians after taking our country into an illegal war and breaking articles 31 and 51 of the UN charter, of which the UK is a signatory,” he said, adding he hopes one day he will face the charges at the Hague.”

A spokesperson for Tony Blair 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.”

Asked on news channel CNN this week if the episodes of attempted citizen’s arrests bothered him, Blair laughed and said: “No they don’t, because I am aware of these decisions, having taken them in government, and they are extremely difficult.”


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