28 Jul 2011

NZ peace protesters attempt to arrest Blair

10:10 pm on 28 July 2011

About 30 peace protesters have attempted to perform a citizens' arrest of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair while he was giving a speech in Auckland.

Mr Blair is on a tour of five Australian and New Zealand cities and was on Thursday making a lunchtime speech to paying guests at Eden Park stadium about his experiences in leadership, negotiation and innovation.

Protesters from the Global Peace and Justice group demonstrated outside the event. They say Mr Blair is guilty of war crimes committed during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

About 17 police formed a wall as the protesters tried to enter the stadium, but were denied entry.

Veteran protester John Minto was carrying a draft warrant for Mr Blair's arrest and says a reward was offered to anyone who managed to serve the papers, as has happened overseas, but it did not work.

Mr Minto says Tony Blair has blood on his hands and should stand trial at The Hague as a war criminal. He has asked the New Zealand Government to begin an investigation into war crimes.

Those who paid at least $500 to hear Mr Blair speak were abused by protesters as they walked into the stadium.