Some things are worth losing your job over. At least that was the explanation offered by Twiggy Garcia, a barman working at a hip East London restaurant who decided that employment was less important than placing a citizen’s arrest on a customer, The Independent reported.
And not just any customer, but former British prime minister Tony Blair.
At almost every public event, Blair is shadowed by protesters who hold him responsible for the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the Iraq war and its aftermath. One particular website, arrestblair.org, offers a bounty of £8,500 ($13,950) to anyone who can “arrest” him for crimes against peace. Unbeknownst to him and his family, the Tramshed restaurant in posh Shoreditch is such a den of political vigilantism.
Garcia, who admitted “fantasizing for years” about arresting Blair, now an envoy of the Middle East Quartet, saw his chance and leaped into action.
In his interview Monday, the barman explained: “He [Blair] was sitting at the head of a table upstairs with about eight other people, eating dinner. I think he was out with his family and a few friends. I went over to him, put my hand on his shoulder and said: ‘Mr. Blair, this is a citizen’s arrest for a crime against peace, namely your decision to launch an unprovoked war against Iraq. I am inviting you to accompany me to a police station to answer the charge.’ ”
Garcia is the fifth person to have attempted to arrest Blair.
But while Blair’s son discreetly sought the family’s plainclothes security, the former premier decided to engage the barman in gentlemanly debate. Blair “kept changing the subject and talking about Syria,” Garcia recounted.
“I didn’t expect him to start debating with me. I think he actually believed the lies that were coming out of his mouth.”
Concerned about the arrival of Blair’s security detail, Garcia fled the scene and hasn’t been in touch with restaurant management since the event. Though the now-unemployed barman has no regrets, he admitted that, given the chance to do it all over again, he would have ensured someone caught it on film.
A spokesman from Blair’s office 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.”