Protests in Malaysia against former PM Blair
About 100 angry protesters stomped on and burnt pictures of Tony Blair on Saturday as the former British prime minister addressed a business gathering in Malaysia.
The anti-war campaigners shouted noisy slogans against Blair's involvement in the invasion of Iraq and threatened to throw shoes at him -- an action considered a grave insult in the Arab and Muslim world -- if he came near them.
The demonstrators, including Iraqis living in Malaysia, described Blair as a war criminal and said that he should be hauled up before an international court for the death of innocent Iraqi people.
"We oppose Tony Blair's presence in Malaysia. His hands are full of Iraqi blood. He must go to the grave," Amani Majid, 44 a student at a local university, told AFP.
Despite the protest, Blair gave a 40-minute speech to more than 3,000 participants. The event was hosted by a Singapore-based company.
Police did not break up the protest as demonstrators held a few banners including: "Blair Murderer," and "Get out of Malaysia."
Blair, Britain's prime minister from 1997 to 2007, was then US president George W. Bush's staunchest ally and sent British troops to Iraq in 2003.
Osama Abdul Karim, 30, an Iraqi student, said: "He is a war criminal. Blair should not come here to talk about business success.
"He destroyed the infrastructure in Iraq. He should be hit with a pair of shoes. What kind of democracy has he brought to Iraq?"
"I ran out of Iraq with my family in 2006. It is no longer a safe country to live," he added.
© 2010 AFP