December 16th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
6 years ago

Iraqis urge government to free shoe-thrower

 TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi, in a file photo, was jailed after throwing his shoes at President Bush.
TV reporter Muntadhar al-Zaidi, in a file photo, was jailed after throwing his shoes at President Bush.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - Protesters across Iraq Tuesday urged government authorities to free the TV correspondent who threw his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush.

Hundreds of students at Diyala University in Baquba carried banners demanding the release of Muntadhar al-Zaidi - described by demonstrators as an "honorable Iraqi."

Smaller protests emerged in the Anbar province city of Falluja and in two Baghdad locations - Baghdad University in the northern part of the city and western Baghdad's Ameriya district. In those events, students also took to the streets.

Al-Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush, while Bush and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were holding a Sunday news conference after the president's surprise visit to Baghdad. The journalist was dragged to the ground, hustled out of the room and arrested.

Shouting as he was dragged to the floor, the reporter called his shoe-throwing - a traditional insult in Arab culture - a "farewell kiss" to a "dog" who launched the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Dhirgham al-Zaidi, the shoe-thrower's brother, said the journalist hated the "material American occupation" and Iranian influence in Iraq.

Full story


Filed under: Iraq • President Bush
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. Lyle Burlingame

    The fact is Bush and Cheney are international TERRORISTS themselves and should be pelted in the head with more than shoes. I pray that the new administration will reinvestigate the events of 9/11 and give the real truth to the 98% of Americans that are BRAINWASHED. You people really trust the government? You should have a shoe thrown at you. Wake up people. You think those 3, (yes THREE) buildings imploded as a result of fire? Controlled demolition no doubt about it, all the devidence points in a direction none of the citizenry want to look. BUSH AND CHENEY = War Criminals

    December 16, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Erik S.

    Look, if anyone else threw shoes at a foreign dignitary what do you think would happen to them, they would be detained. He's not any different and certainly not special. He gets to do time like everyone else. Under Saddam he would have been killed so he should count himself lucky, but of course he won’t. And for you people on here cheering such a juvenile and useless display, you're exactly what makes America weak.

    December 16, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Paul DObro

    A true hero in Iraq, he should be celebrated, not jailed.

    How insensitve is Bush to not understand what the show throwing means in their culture and acknowledge, that to some (if not most) Iraqies whose lifes have been changed for the worse, he is viewed badly.

    I think we need to add a shoe to the painting in the white house.

    December 16, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Molly

    They better let him go! If Iraq wants to be a free society now they need to learn about free speech. The reports coming out right now that he was hit in the head with the butt of a rifle and has a broken arm are distrubing. He had every right to throw his shows...and Bush did an excellent job of ducking them. No harm, no foul.

    December 16, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. Carl

    In the civilized world, we don't throw things at people because we don't like them. While he shouldn't stay in jail for a ridiculously long time, this man deserves to spend a little time behind bars thinking about his childish tantrum. By all means, Bush should have been impeached long ago, but throwing your shoes at him? Grow up.

    December 16, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Hilary

    Well, Bush himself said it wasn't a big deal, so they should let him go.

    December 16, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Joe

    THREE CHEERS for the guy that threw the shoes – Imagine if every American who wanted to express their feelings about Bush and his Iraq debacle (just to name one of many) were to do the same – the White House would be buried.

    December 16, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. LM75

    That guy had a good arm. That guy threw heat right at his head. Two size 10s within 4 seconds. That is probably the only time I have laughed when Bush was on the newscast. I generally dodge him by changing stations.

    December 16, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Joseph, Los Angeles

    Let him go. Like Bush said, we gave them the right to free speech!

    December 16, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. johnny the boy

    Who's gonna play obama the pepsi logo president elect on SNL for the next four years?

    Dave Chappel would be funny, especially imitaing obamas past drug abuse

    December 16, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. EJ St. Louis Mo

    if some Americans can make a poster boy hero out of a fake plumber, I don't see why the Iraqis can't do the same with this guy!

    December 16, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. Marine

    Had I been part of Bush's security detail, the piece of crap wouldn't be breathing. These ingrates are nothing but peasants with the mentality of goats.

    December 16, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Sid...Texas

    Create a special medal for him, and make shoe throwing at politicians an olympic event....Also, shoe-planting in proper areas could be included for some politicians...

    December 16, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Robert

    If someone threw a shoe at Obama, Chris Matthews would call for Baghdad to be leveled in retaliation.

    December 16, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. PuckU

    To bad the Iraqi security didn't get a chance to end this poor excuse for a mans life. Say whatever you want, Bush is still our president. This guy does not deserve to be called a journalist. F'em.

    December 16, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. Stacy

    Wow! nothing like Americans standing up for another American. Even if you hate Bush, what that reporter did is an insult to himself, his family, and the culture that raised him. Calling us dogs...they've got a lot of nerve....they are the ones that strap bombs on their children and send them off to kill innocent people. The idiots that wrote hateful things about Bush in their responses make me sick.

    Their right...things were so much better under Saddam. He was just a sweetie pie.

    December 16, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. gabba

    The shoe thrower is a hero. Better just to let him go.

    December 16, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. kate

    Although I myself think Bush committed war crimes, the journalist who threw the shoe knew there would be reprocussions to his actions. It is never okay to demonstrate your dislike for someone with aggression. A press secretary for Bush has a black eye as a result of his shoe toss. Part of having a free society is being responsible for your actions. He deserves a resonable amount of punishment. Hopefully the Iraqis know what that entails now!!

    December 16, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. USAF Veteran Desert Storm

    Somebody, give this guy a medal!!!

    December 16, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. conservative and veteran

    To all of those highly elevated mensa liberal Bush haters ; maybe you can enlighten the rest of us as to what qualifies you to judge Bush ! Just pushing a mouse on a pad and living on your parents dole all of your free and easy lives doesn't count! Ever really worked and put out any thing for this country?

    December 16, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Mike Pittsburgh

    I wonder what the reaction of a foreign government (or peoples) would have been if one of our citizens had thrown a show at President Ahmadinejab when he visited New York last year. I did not vote for Mr. Bush, I do not approve of Mr. Bush, but he is still the duly elected President of the United States, he deserves that respect and our support wherever he goes.

    December 16, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Mike

    I would release the guy but only after a couple of weeks in a "learn to pitch" camp and apologizing to the Press Secretary.

    December 16, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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