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. ANAG LOS ANGELES, CA

    Free the guy. I think many people even in the US have wanted to do that from time to time.

    December 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Give me a break!

    Hey, I think Bush should pardon the Dixie Chicks. They were right, after all. We are ashamed that he's from the U.S. The talented trio has been justified over and over again...

    December 16, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. rodlang

    Can't wait for someone to throw a shoe...or banana at Obama. Then see how the libs react.

    December 16, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. Biff

    to my liberal compatriots... I am the hardest core of those who KNEW bush would ruin this country.

    BUT I CAN NOT BE HAPPY A PERSON WAS ALLOWED TO THOW "ANYTHING" OTHER THAN A TANTRUM AT MY PRESIDENT.

    PERIOD.

    December 16, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Larry in Houston, Texas

    THANKS SARGE, YOU SAID IT BEST !!!
    Larry
    Houston

    December 16, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. ITSONNOW

    GUESS ITS BEST TO TREAT ALL PRESIDENTS FAIRLY AND WITH RESPECT NO MATTER WHAT I THINK OF HIM. SHOULD I BUY A PAIR OF LOAFERS OR SNEAKERS FOR HEIR OBAMA. YEA ITS FAIR !!!!! YOU WANT RESPECT IN RETURN FOR THE RESPECT YOU GAVE. RIGHT? I THOUGHT NOT! HYPOCRITES!!!!!

    December 16, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. JJ12345

    Robin in Florida December 16th, 2008 12:41 pm ET

    This guy was only making a political statement he had no intention of harming the President. I say let him go.
    ______________________________________________________
    Would you feel the same if someone did it to Obama if it was just a "political statement." I would guess most here would want them in jail for life.

    December 16, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. oh no

    I like my shoes to much to throw them at this Knucklehead.....,

    December 16, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. Rose

    If only that podium had not been in the way! Truly a fitting end for Bush. The guy deserves a medal not jail time.

    December 16, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Biff

    DO YOU GUYS UNDERSTAND....

    DISASTEROUSLY ABHORRENTLY DESTRUCTIVELY BAD POLICY OR NOT......

    YOU DO "NOT" GET TO THROW ANYTHING AT "MY" PRESIDENT.

    THE LEFT AND THE RIGHT SHOULD BE TOGETHER ON THIS.....

    YOU DON'T GET TO THOW STUFF AT MY PRESIDENT.......

    December 16, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Kojeh

    Shoe throwing aside, the most frustrating thing is that this is only time Bush will be held responsible and accountable for his part in the deaths of over 4000 young Americans and countless Iraqis.
    He had the bravado to answer say " so what " when asked about the reasons he had for killing all these people.
    His temerity and bravado are beyond belief. Let ask all the supporter of the invasion – How Americans were killed or injured by Iraq outside of the First war in 1991?
    None , so where was the threat to America?

    December 16, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. John in Ohio

    Who in America wouldn't like to punch the idiot monkey in his smirking face? Nothing worse, just a pow right in the kisser.

    Yeah, there may have been other ways for him to make his point, but this way got serious global airtime and nobody but the shoe-thrower was seriously hurt. You ask me, this is a big step up from car bombs and IEDs.

    December 16, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. BF

    You people need to get a clue. This time it was a shoe. Next time it could be a rifle shot at your beloved Obama. People who act out like that need to be handled not let go. No matter what your feelings are towards President Bush he is still our President. There needs to be respect for the position. Anything else is just plan Un-American.

    December 16, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. jeff in MA

    Considering Bush's poor decisions destroyed thousands of lives and caused much misery and suffering in Iraq, he's lucky a shoe was all they threw at him.

    December 16, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. John in Ohio

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

    If Obama, after 8 years, deserves it like Bush deserved it after 8 years, I imagine we'd all applaud it as well. Obama hasn't screwed up like Bush has screwed up, and Bush is going to walk away from the mess he created and retire in luxury in Dallas. If a shoe to the head was all he got, it wouldn't be enough. If Obama screws up half as bad as Bush, go ahead, chuck a shoe at him.

    December 16, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. USAF Retired

    At least he did something unlike those of you who are all talk and no action.

    December 16, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. arc, Lugano CH

    Mr. Muntadhar al-Zaidi's left shoe was the 'hearts' and his right shoe was the 'minds' of the Iraqi people.

    Let him go free!

    December 16, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  18. Joe

    All you fake Americans need to realize that a slap at Bush's face is a slap to all Americans. Bush may not be the best President our country has had but he is still our leader for now! Anyone who thinks if is funny or support the DOG who threw his shoes is a fool and dosen't support America! The Iraqi's have gotten plenty of good things from America, like freedom from Sadam and a country rebuilt at American tax payers expense, even though they have plenty of money now, And let us not forget the price paid in blood by our military! So remember, if you think is was funny or appropriate to insult Bush, it is an insult to all Americans and the men and women who gave their life! You idiots are really laughing at your self!

    December 16, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Marie

    This man feels the same contempt as the United States didwhen 9-11 happened and killed thousands of americans.Do I gree what he did to Bush no I understand last evening it was reported he also lost a family member so he lost just as much in this war as we did and still is...I say let him go free because his covering of any such event is over even if it means if he could continue his profession in journalism

    December 16, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. What???

    Yeah, its no big deal, this guy just threw his shoes HARD at our president, let him go, give him a medal, blah blah blah more childish liberal dribble. The putz is lucky he pulled this crap on an American leader, because if it had been Saddam, he would have a body part on every corner of Baghdad. You can hate the president and express your anger publicly, but there are much more mature ways of protesting than this; this was a cheap, look-at-me spectacle, equivalent to that brat at Florida who got tasered.

    December 16, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Oh Brother

    We are free to protest in our democracy that our corrupt admin seems to liken itself to spreading. He didn't use a gun, a knife, or a lead pipe. In their culture, this is a perfectly accepted way to show your disdain.

    Seriously, Bush has been behind the civilian deaths of how many Iraqis now? Where is justice in this case??

    It was humbling experience for the President, and good for character building. It's called accountability to the people you screwed. Wish our gov't believed in it.

    December 16, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. Beah

    Free the guy! Iraq's present situation is far worst now prior to us invading their country. Bush deserved it and I just wish he was hit!

    December 16, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. JJ is clueless

    JJ12345,

    Your hypothetical makes as much sense as asking what would happen if pigs could fly. Obama has not overthrown the government of a sovereign nation for its oil while killing many of its citizens while having absolutely no clue on how to handle the subsequent occupation which lead to gross mismanagement and the loss of billions of taxpayer dollars to companies given no bid contracts to outright fraud from non-existing oversight. Obama is the polar opposite of Bush, an incurious and simplistic man thoroughly uninterested in the details of governance.

    Meanwhile, Obama is revered around the world with his only detractors being white supremacist bigots and far right conservatives who may in fact be the same individuals. in his own country. So your question asking if people would feel differently if it happened to Obama is patently absurd. Just like asking if people would feel differently if pigs could fly. Pigs can't fly, and wondering if they could is an exercise of feeble minded Obama detractors.

    December 16, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. H Kohl

    I can not understand how anyone throwing a shoe at our President can be tolerated and made light of, especially on your No Biais No Bull show. Is this the example we want to set for our childreen? This show makes no attempt to be unbiased and thats no Bull.

    December 16, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Selah Brown

    Make him pay a fine and let him go. They are talking about putting him away for 7 years. He threw a shoe for goodness sake, not a genade. The man has lost family, been kidnapped, held by American troops. and watched his country be torn to shreds...who wouldn't express anger at the source. We've lost 4,000 American soldiers – which is 4000 too many, but the Iraqi's have lost over 100, 000 citizens...frankly, we are lucky all he threw was a shoe.
    Let him go.

    December 16, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10