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. obama-mama

    Just let him go. Bring him to the US. I can think of a couple of folks that could use a good booting.

    December 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Mobius

    NIKE should hire him. It would make a great Super Bowl Ad.

    Just Do It. ;-)

    December 16, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. obama-mama

    I just read that this guy suffered a broken arm and head injury as a result of the boot toss. He is currently in the hospital and possibly may serve up to 2 yrs in prison for attacking an official.

    December 16, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. KJL

    He insulted his own government when he offended a visiting dignitary. His protest should have been made in another way, and he is certainly no hero regardless of your viewpoint.

    December 16, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. EVERYMAN

    What would have happened to al-Zaidi if he had thrown shoes at Sadam ? -He wouldn't have left the room alive!

    This is the kind of CRAP a free society must endure. This shows the degree that Iraq has evolved into a free society. They throw shoes and PETA throws fake blood.

    Welcome to FREEDOM!

    December 16, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Ryan

    Let him free!!!

    I think the Illiniois governor could use a good shoe throwin.

    December 16, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. FreeNLovIt

    Good for them. They're learning to taste FREEDOM.

    December 16, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Lars

    I believe that this man has committed an act that many of us Americans would love to do ourselves! Shoe throwing can't even begin to compare with the atrocities that Bush has put the Iraq's through. Release him at once, and give him a medal!

    December 16, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Anne E.

    Let him go - he simply did what many of us wish we could have had the freedom to do. What Mr. al-Zaidi did was a shot in the arm for protesters the world over.

    December 16, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Peggy from IA

    Will we ever be rid of Bush/Cheney, etc. persecutions? Please. No more war!

    December 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  11. BB

    Let him go. At least 70% of U.S. citizens would like to throw shoes at the incompetent pres.

    December 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Sam

    I say let him serve 2 years for attacking an official. His behavior was totally unacceptable. To me, an attack is an attack whether it's with a hurled shoe or a clinched fist in the face. What he did could have actually injured the president had the shoe made contact with the president's head.

    As for the guy's broken arm and other injuries, he should have thought about the potential consequences before he undertook his actions. No sympathy here.

    December 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Jim Doyle

    Bush should offer him a pardon. No, really.

    December 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. paul (staunch Moderate)

    Quietly release the guy... A minor incident, a tiny footnote in history. And an action that (I'd be willing to bet) many US citizens would love to take themselves.

    December 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    President Bush moved pretty fast

    December 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. BB

    Let him go. He just did what a bunch of us would love to do.

    December 16, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Michael in Seattle

    we are over there fighting so they can have freedom of speech...in their culture that is freedom of speech...let him go

    December 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Polar Bears Against Palen

    He is a hero. Let him go and give him a medal of honor.

    December 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. JJ12345

    So I guess its ok, will the opinion change if someone does it to Obama? My guess is that it will.

    December 16, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. joann

    The Iraqis government might purposely infiltrated him to the press conference to show to the world that they can insult a US sitting president, by whom they were freed and are able to do such kind of thing now. Were they brave enough to do that to Saddam Hussein?

    They are freed but yet they are not grateful. Could you imagine what happen if an American insults one of Arab's leaders? That man will be killed then they will demand apology and money from us.

    Such primitive and coward nations will never become big.

    December 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. KAROL KING

    He should remain in jail. i am not a fan of President Bush, but he is the president of the USA, and what he did was disrespecful, and if he is not punished other will try the same, may be at another President they don't like....

    December 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  22. Karen - Proud of This Country

    We the American citizens asked that the Iraqi government free the shoe thrower and give him a verbal tongue lashing only. As many of us here in the US wish we could throw our shoe at President Bush and impeach him at the same time for running our country in the ground.

    December 16, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Perusing-Through

    This guy took "give him the boot" literally.

    December 16, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Alan in Berkeley

    Another name for President Bush's out-the-door pardon list.

    December 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Repuges are sore loosers

    It would not have been funny if it were any of our past sitting Presidents but b/c it was Bush it was the most funniest thing I have ever seen. Bush deserves what ever is thrown at him. Over 4000 troops dead including my cousin who was killed on 11/25/08 and left 2 children ages 7 & 12. For a war that should have never happened, there were no WMD's and Bush knew it. He just wanted to compete with his father. So forgive me for getting a little satisfaction from seeing a shoe being thrown at him. He deserved a drive by shoeing and if I were there I would have given him my high heel to throw to.

    December 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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