Vincent cautioned at literary festival

Citizen's arrest bid fails

Comic Andre Vincent has been given an official caution after being held by police at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival.

The stand-up was picked up by police as a group of people tried to make a citizen’s arrest of former George Bush aide John Bolton over alleged war crimes.

Protesters, led by environmental campaigner George Monbiot, claim that Bolton’s actions in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq contravened two of the Nuremberg Principles of international war.

The campaigners, which also included comedian Marcus Brigstocke, attempted arrest Bolton during his speech at the festival, but security staff bundled them out of the marquee.

However, Vincent, who had not been denied access to the tent, instead snuck into the backstage area – where he was grabbed as he tried to get on to the stage.

Brickstocke said: ‘Andre’s charge sheet read, “Man seen hovering at rear of performance area” – which I think sums up his comedy career.

‘As he was being questioned by police, Sandi Toksvig walked past and told them, “Don’t you know who he is? Of course you don’t, you’re only 12”.

‘I think they thought they had arrested Brian Blessed,’ Brigstocke added.

The Now Show regular said the citizen’s arrest attempt was a genuine bid to bring Bolton to justice. He was Bush’s Undersecretary of State for Arms Control before being appointed America’s Ambassador to the United Nations, even though he is a strong critic of the organisation, once claiming: ‘There is no such thing as the United Nations. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States.’

After his failed attempt, Monbiot said: ‘I'm disappointed I couldn't reach him, but I made what I believe to be the first attempt ever to arrest one of the perpetrators of the Iraq war, and I would like to see that followed up.’

Published: 29 May 2008

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