Ex-UK prime minister Tony Blair knighted despite war crimes
Hundreds of anti-war protesters gathered outside Windsor Castle today as former prime minister Tony Blair received a knighthood in “reward for his war crimes.”
The protest, organised by Stop the War Coalition (StWC), heard chants of “Tony Blair, war criminal,” “Blair knighthood, not in my name,” and “Blair lied, millions died.”
Activists held signs reading: “Bliar,” “Jail Blair, free Assange,” and “Sir War Criminal,” while others wore masks of the former PM with blood on their hands.
Blair was being appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the highest possible ranking, nearby the protest despite more than 1.1 million signatures against the decision.
Speaking at the protest, Labour MP and StWC vice-chairman Andrew Murray said that Blair’s title was not just about him, but also the hope of trying to “rehabilitate war.”
He said the former Labour leader should be “tried at the Hague” and remembered Hanan Saleh Matrud, an eight-year-old Iraqi girl who was killed by a British soldier while playing on the street.
Her family received just £390 in compensation.
StWC convener Lindsey German told the crowd that the reason they waited 15 years to award Blair the title was they “couldn’t possibly do it when he left his office as prime minister when he supported all the wars.”
“They thought they could do it now because enough time had passed for people to forget,” she said.
“We will never forget what he did, we will never forget the people who suffered and we will see him tried as a war criminal.”
Britons widely believe that Blair should be imprisoned rather than crowned with knighthood for his well-established militaristic role in the course of the brutal war on Iraq that started in 2003.
Blair has long faced criticism for sending troops into Afghanistan and Iraq, a decision which culminated in a devastating report by Sir John Chilcot in 2016 that found he overplayed evidence about the former Ba'athist regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.
The report also found that Blair's government had chosen to join the US-led invasion before all peaceful options for supposed disarmament had been exhausted.