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. JW

    Let him go, they already beat the crap outta him. If George had a brain and a set he would have thrown the shoes back

    December 16, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Ron Ft. Myers

    Let him go and let us get out of that country. As Paul Harvey said about Vietnam,"The whole country is not worth one drop of American blood." Why make the guy into anything more than the pathetic coward he is and further honor him. It was all a scheme to get him attention so as to further his so called career. Let's get out of that hell hole now and bring our trops home and let them throw shoes at each other. Talk about dogs.

    December 16, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Jacquelyn

    He's cute!

    December 16, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Ken

    I'm not sure anybody ever threw a shoe at Nixon. Just goes to show you how low G. Bush is.

    December 16, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Butch Dillon

    Let Muntadhar al-Zaidi go free, give him a raise, pin a medal on his chest and declare a national holiday in his name. The only flaw in this episode is that the shoes did not find their intended target. So maybe he should get some pitching lessons from David Cone.

    December 16, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Chuck

    As much as I dislike Bush, this man should be prosecuted to the fullest allowed by Iraqi law. This was an attack on a Head of State. In this country it would have been punishable by imprisonment. We have lost too many American lives in Iraq to allow such disrespect to our President, even if he is unpopular around the world. Not punishing acts like this will only allow people to think that they can do these kinds of acts without prosecution.

    December 16, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. GaVoter

    I played 8 yrs of baseball and wear and size 12 shoe. And now that it's politically correct to throw shoes when dissenting in public, I can't wait for Obama to come to Georgia!!

    December 16, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. tired of corporate politics

    Everyone is talking about "just let it go", "that's how freedom works". Hypocrites! If someone ever throws anything at Obama (or even thinks about it), these same bloggers will cry out about racism and conspiracies and evil plots and lack of unity.

    We'll see how this "freedom" works when Obama starts getting serious criticism.

    December 16, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. ROBERT CROWLEY

    LET HIM GOOD. AS OTHERS ARE SAYING THIS IS WHAT MANY MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WOULD LIKE TO DO TO THIS PRESIDENT THE WAR CRMINAL.

    December 16, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Larry in Houston, Texas

    Let him go !! Iraq is supposed to be a "Free" country, like the U.S. .... So that means, he should bail out of Jail, just like we do in the united states ! That's what you do, when you have "freedoms" you are freed from a dictator, and you won't have your head cut off, for everything from spitting on the sidewalk to a felony....BUSH wanted them to live "Freely" so there you have it......You commit whatever crime you want, like here in the united states, then you get a lawyer to get you out......or bail out......simple....That's why we have so much crime in the united states, we keep letting the bad guys off !!! And we will continue to do that, til the end of time....
    Larry C.
    Houston Texas

    December 16, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. David M.

    I wonder if would have doene the same to Saddam Hussein...?
    Isn't he lucky to be able to express himself freely now?

    December 16, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Down on the farm

    It's too bad it was only a shoe.

    December 16, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Peter (CA)

    Bush should be the big man here.
    He should publicly state he would like the man released. Say something along the lines of understanding the man's frustration but that in order to secure freedom for Iraq, some drastic steps needed to be taken.

    Yeah, it's a load but at least he can gracefully look like he cares. Considering his first statement was to say he had no idea why the guy would throw the shoe, I am betting Bush is clueless on this one, too.

    December 16, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. Robin in Florida

    This guy was only making a political statement he had no intention of harming the President. I say let him go.

    December 16, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    Where was the secret service detail? Why did the culprit have the time to throw the second shoe?

    December 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Veronica

    Oh, for pete's sake – let the guy go ... it's not like he did something millions haven't thought of doing to Dumbya. Actually, tossing a shoe or two was rather kind of the bloke, in my humble opinion.

    December 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  17. Ted:Canada

    If BUSH was SMART!

    He would LEAD the call to let this guy go free.

    "In the name of freedom of expression...blah blah"

    Bush has placed himself – his family and the Republicans in danager as the outside world see them as "evil"...

    By publically trying to champion this guy's freedom – he would help minimize the risk to him – his family and Republicans...

    Be Good!

    December 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Ken in Dallas

    This should be the equivalent of a disorderly conduct charge. It;s an offense, and if it's to be dismissed, it should be dismissed by a court of law, but it shouldn't be treated as a major felony. I hear al-Maliki's trying to get the guy put away for 8 years, which is ridiculous.

    December 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. steve

    in their culture showing someone the bottom of your foot or shoe is a specific disrespect/insult, the man verbally called him a criminal and with his action called him trash... he is both. while I do not advocate violence I have always been surprised bush has not been attacked for all the harm he has done, so many have died, been maimed, financial ruined (and not just recently) and otherwise harmed due to his actions and choices, the man is truly evil and deserves to spend the rest of his life hounded by those he has harmed, I do not doubt that this is the first of maaaaany "shoes" to be thrown at him, THAT is his legacy, to be hated by sooo many for the very real harm he has directly caused

    December 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. Larry in Houston, Texas

    Thanks "Everyman" you said it best.......If you say something wrong in the Saddam Regime, they would have cut your fingers off, or they would have got "hanged" .......

    Larry
    Houston Texas

    December 16, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Robbin

    Free him! he represented millions of us who are tired of Bush's reign of terror!

    December 16, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. chuck

    GEORGE BUSH HAS NO FRIENDS ANYWHERE HE GOES . IN AMERICA IT'S NO DIFFERENT. THEN,ASK THE QUESTION WHY? YOUR ANSWER---- HE IS LIKE WASTE MATTER.

    December 16, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. Mari

    The man who threw the shoe SHOULD BE FREE TO DO SO!

    IF I could I would throw my shoes at Bush, the man has DESTROYED OUR NATION, OUR ECONOMY AND OUR STANDING IN THE WORLD!

    December 16, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. SHIRLEY "60"

    IF ANYONE SAW CHRIS MATTHEWS ON MSNBC'S HARDBALL YESTERDAY SHOW HIS DISDAIN FOR THE IRAQIS AND THEIR EXPRESSIONS OF FREEDOM, YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT HE DID NOT GET THAT REPORTER'S FEELINGS OF ANGER AND FRUSTRATION. THE PRESIDENT OF THE U. S. HAD THE GALL TO COME TO HIS COUNTRY AGAIN, AND PROMOTE THIS SIX YEAR UNNECESSARY WAR THAT HAS NOT ONLY KILLED 4000 PLUS OF OUR CITIZENS AND ALLIES, BUT TENS OF THOUSANDS OF HIS COUNTRY'S CITIZENS, AND PROBABLY SOME OF HIS OWN FAMILY MEMBERS. I GET IT, AND HOPE THAT MANY OTHERS DO.

    December 16, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. lucas aka nacura

    no matter how bad bush messed up america, i think the guy should still be judged according to the iraqis law....unacceptable prostest

    December 16, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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