Blair says may cancel book signing over protests

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Former British prime minister Tony Blair said Monday he may cancel a planned signing of his new memoirs in London this week because of the protests it might ignite.

"To be frank about it, I am concerned. I do not want to put everyone through a lot of cost and hassle on this Wednesday's signing so I am thinking about that," Blair told ITV1.

Around 200 demonstrators protesting against the 2003 Iraq war hurled flip-flops and plastic bottles at Blair's motorcade during his first public signing session for the memoir in the Irish capital Dublin on Saturday.

Four people were arrested.

Anti-war demonstrators are planning further action when Blair holds a signing at a Waterstone's bookshop in central London on Wednesday, his first in the country he led for ten years until 2007.

The ex-premier said the police were "fabulous and they will do whatever we ask them to do", but said they should not be asked to commit resources where there was no need to.

"There are people -- particularly now the BNP (far-right British National Party) apparently say they want to get in on the action -- you end up just causing a lot of hassle for people and cost when there are better things for the police to do and it's not as if we need to do it.

"It is sad at the same time, frankly. If people want to have a book signed, people should protest but not try and physically prevent you doing it."

Blair said the book was selling "fantastically".

"A Journey", published on September 1, is an account of his years leading the Labour party and a decade in power, during which Britain waged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

© 2010 AFP

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