Anti-war protest greets Blair at Irish TV station

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Anti-war campaigners staged a protest against former British prime minister Tony Blair on Friday as he arrived at a Dublin television studio for an interview about his new autobiography, police said.

About 20 members of the Irish Anti-War movement picketed the gate outside the RTE state television headquarters where Blair appeared on the "Late Late" live show to promote his memoirs of a decade in Downing Street.

They shouted "war criminal" as Blair's motorcade passed, in protest at his decision to take Britain into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When asked about this by the show's host Ryan Tubridy, Blair said: "Of course I don't believe that."

Questioned about the numerous anti-war protests during his ten years as Labour prime minister from 1997 to 2007, Blair said that decisions could not be taken as a result of people with placards.

"One of the first things that you learn in politics is that those who shout most don't deserve necessarily to be listened to most. Everyone should be listened to equally, irrespective of the volume of noise," he said.

Blair and his then Irish counterpart Bertie Ahern negotiated the 1997 Good Friday Peace agreement that ended decades of violence in British-ruled Northern Ireland and led to the creation of a power-sharing administration in Belfast.

In his autobiography, entitled "A Journey", Blair praised Ahern for his contribution to the peace process and described him as "one of my favourite political leaders" and "a true friend".

He also wrote of his fondness for Ireland, noting that his mother was from County Donegal in the north west and describing holidays there as a child.

Blair reportedly received a 4.6 million pound (5.6 million euro, 7.2 million dollar) advance for his book, which was published Wednesday, and will donate all proceeds to the Royal British Legion, a charity helping war veterans.

Further protests are planned for a book-signing by Blair in Dublin Saturday, the first since his book was published. Another is planned in London next week.

© 2010 AFP

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