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Tony Blair heckled at Colby College graduation speech

Tony Blair heckled at Colby College graduation speech

access_time May 20, 2012 chat_bubble_outline 1,080 comments
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By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 17:03 EST, 20 May 2012 | UPDATED: 17:40 EST, 20 May 2012

Tony Blair was interrupted by rowdy protesters as he called for global unity during a speech at the graduation ceremony of a college in Maine.

The former prime minister of the UK addressed more than 400 Colby College graduates and their guests on Sunday morning at the school’s 191st commencement in Waterville.

Four protestors stood in the back of the ceremony and heckled Mr Blair, calling him a ‘war monger’ and a ‘war criminal.’

Tony Blair

Heckled: Four protestors shouted at former Prime Minister Tony Blair as he delivered the graduation speech at Colby College in Maine

Demonstrator Lawrence Reichard, 53, of Bangor, was arrested for disorderly conduct when police asked him to leave and he refused, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Other protestors stood by with signs, including one that read ‘Globalization Kills.’

The demonstrators were primarily angry about Mr Blair’s support for the war in Iraq, in which he played a key part alongside President George W. Bush.

In his address, Mr Blair appealed for international co-operation and told graduates that they must try to understand other cultures.

Tony Blair

Hope: Blair urged the graduates to explore the world, even though globalization is making things more difficult in the western world

The 59-year-old Mr Blair, the Labour Party’s longest-serving prime minister, occupied 10 Downing St from 1997 to 2007.

Since then, he has served as the envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, representing the U.S., Russia, the EU and the UN in working with Palestinians to prepare for statehood. 

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‘This is a time of challenge,’ he told graduates at the small private university.

‘The 20th century belonged to us. Will the 21st century belong to someone else? Are we an empire that’s fading? My message to you is: have confidence.’

Despite the potential perils of globalisation, he argued, graduates should learn to embrace it.

‘It’s a fascinating and energising world out there,’ he said. ‘It’s time to explore it.’

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