He might have quit his job immediately afterwards, but the London barman who attempted a citizen’s arrest on Tony Blair has been rewarded with a sizeable bounty for his efforts.
Twiggy Garcia was working at Tramshed in East London when the opportunity arose to confront the former Prime Minister.
As Mr Blair was dining with friends and family, the DJ turned barman laid a hand on the former Prime Minister’s shoulder and tried to arrest him for “crimes against peace..namely the decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq.”
The website that inspired his actions, George Monbiot's Arrest Blair website, has now awarded him a quarter of their funds, a total of £2222. Mr Monbiot explained he satisfied their conditions as not only attempted the citizen's arrest but attracted the attention of the media.
In Mr Monbiot’s words the bounty is deserved for “keeping the issue – and the memories of those who have been killed – alive, and sustaining the pressure to ensure that international law binds the powerful as well as the puny. “ However Mr Blair’s considered response to Mr Garcia, who also goes by the name "Ghoulian Assange" on Twitter, saw the barman come under a torrent of criticism on social media.
It seemed that Mr Blair’s unpopularity with a certain portion of the population was rivalled only by an instrinsic dislike of those considered “hipsters”.
“Can we alter the title of this article to 'annoying hipster harasses Tony Blair. Realises he looks stupid. Runs'? “ tweeted one social media user. As others weighed in with their opinions, it seemed many couldn’t decide who to dislike the most.
What an absolute twonk - some idiot hipster tries to "citizen's arrest" Blair > http://t.co/mjTSvdP7GF; Paul Bates (@paulstuartbates) January 20, 2014
Whatever you think of Blair, he seems to have dealt with the attempted citizen's arrest rather civilly http://t.co/P10IxuOY3C; Matthew Moore (@mattkmoore) January 20, 2014
My Boyfriend Just Made A Complete Arse of Himself In Front Of Tony Blair http://t.co/JSswDH6y9H; Charlie Lindlar (@charlielindlar) January 20, 2014
Speaking to CNN on Tuesday night, Mr Blair gave yet another “ Teflon Tony” performance, telling the broadcaster such episodes didn’t bother him. “If you intervene - as we did and removed on any basis a brutal dictator in Saddam who was responsible for hundreds of thousands of people dying - you end up with a very difficult set of consequences you have got to face up to “But if you don't intervene, as we see in Syria today, we are also facing very difficult consequences.”
A spokesman for the former Prime Minister told The Independent: “ There is nothing to report here apart from the 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.”
Mr Garcia is the fifth person to have tried to arrest Mr Blair. He told Vice at the time: “ It will keep people from forgetting he is a war criminal. I hope one day he faces his charges in The Hague. People seem to think those laws only apply to Nazis and African warlords.”
Tony Blair: A career of controversies
Tony Blair: A career of controversies
1/11 The Tony Blair 'selfie'.. A journalist takes a picture of Kennard Phillips 'Photo Op', depicting Prime Minister Tony Blair taking a 'selfie' in front of an explosion in Iraq, during a press viewing of the exhibition Catalyst: Contemporary Art and War
2/11 Protesters pictured outside the QEII Conference centre in London in 2011 as former British PM Tony Blair give his evidence in the Chilcot Iraq Inquiry
3/11 David Lawley-Wakelin, who disrupted Tony Blair’s testimony at the Leveson Inquiry by bursting into the court
4/11 Blair giving evidence
5/11 Tony Blair visiting troops in Iraq in 2007
6/11 Blair meeting with troops in Basra, Iraq in 2003
7/11 Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks to British soldiers at Divisional Headquaters in Basra, May 2007
8/11 British Prime Minister Tony Blair eats dinner with British troops in Basra, Iraq, 21 December, 2004
9/11 Syrian president Bashar El Assad during his official visit to the United Kingdom in 2002. Mr Blair tried to engage Mr Garcia in a conversation about Syria. The former Prime Minister made clear he was very much in favour of military intervention last summer.
10/11 Syrian president Bashar El Assad and wife Asma during their official visit to the United Kingdom in 2002. Mr Blair tried to engage Mr Garcia in a conversation about Syria
11/11 Former Prime Minister Tony Blair's signature adorns a program he signed for an Iraq veteran during a reception at the Guildhall in London following the service of commemoration at St Paul's Cathedral honouring UK military and civilian personnel who served in Iraq