Shoreditch barman attempts citizen’s arrest on Tony Blair

A barman at a fashionable Shoreditch restaurant attempted a citizen’s arrest on Tony Blair on Friday night.

Twiggy Garcia, a barman at the Tramshed restaurant in east London, confronted the former prime minister who was eating with friends and family at an upstairs table at the restaurant.

It is the fifth attempted citizen’s arrest on Blair since he left Downing Street in 2009.

Garcia told Vice Magazine: “He was sitting at the head of a table upstairs with about eight other people eating dinner.

“My heart rate increased when I found out he was in the building; there was an eerie presence, which some of the other staff noticed too. It wasn’t like any other night. I couldn’t believe he was there. His security 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?’

“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’.”

Garcia said Blair “kept changing the subject and talking about Syria”. “I didn’t expect him to start debating with me. I think he actually believed the lies that were coming out of his mouth.”

Garcia added: “One of his sons got up and went to get the plain-clothes security from downstairs. I decided to get out of there sharpish. […] I quit my job there and then.”

The website offers a bounty of about £2,150 to anyone who can “arrest” the former prime minister for his part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the subsequent war.

Blair’s spokesman said to the Independent: “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.”

Blair Protesters

In his first six years in office, Blair ordered British troops into battle five times, more than any other British prime minister in history.

He was strongly criticised for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has since been the subject of accusation of war crimes. Critics, including Desmond Tutu, Harold Pinter and Arundhati Roy, have called for his trial at the International Criminal Court.

In 2012, Tom Grundy, an activist in Hong Kong, attempted a citizen’s arrest on Blair, saying he wanted to “renew awareness” about Blair and the Iraq war. This came just a week after an interruption during Blair’s appearance at the Leveson inquiry during which protester David Lawley-Wakelin accused Blair of war crimes.

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