December 16th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
5 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. Lame Duck

    When they let him go which will happen hopefully before Jan 20th 2009, someone in Iraqi with much better aim and command of throwing a size 10 shoe will show him how to hit the target....

    After firing the warning shot, you would think old boy would have hit the target.

    December 16, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Jason

    In this country he wouldbe arrested and charged with battery at the very least, and would be prosecuted. If the Iraquis believe in the rule of law as well as democracy, they need to understand that popular opinion is not the basis for a defense for a crime.

    December 16, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Milhouse van Houten

    It's just too bad it didn't catch Shrub smack in the mouth,at least then he would have had the opportunity to sample some Iraqi"sole food".

    December 16, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. WishTheShoesWould'veHitHim

    US troops have killed thousands of innocent civilians in his country, destroyed it and MADE it a terrorists haven rather than keeping it safe from terrorism. The guy was also captured and tortured by insurgents because of the US presence in Iraq. ALL BECAUSE WE ARE THERE OVER OIL. I don't blame the guy. Furthermore, there are a lot of Americans who would stand in line to throw something (not necessarily shoes either) at 'Bandar Bush'

    December 16, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. big daddy

    HE MISSED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

    December 16, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. Jirizu

    Let him go . He did the right thing the iraq way. It seems like oppression to me jailing a man protesting the war by throwing his shoes at the US president ,while he may have lost relatives and friends in an unjust war started by the same president

    December 16, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Ro in BR

    I really do not like W, but I think he handled this situation extremely well. Why it took eight years to display such diplomacy is beyond me. This would never have happened over here. The Iraqis screwed up or intentionally let this guy do this. You just cant trust these people. We need to get out of there TODAY! Let them kill each other for all I care.

    December 16, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. arc, Lugano CH

    It is Poetic Justice. In 2003, Iraqis took to the streets and tore down statues of Saddam Hussein so that they could hit the face with the bottom of their shoes. And now, another War Criminal, our American President, has a similar honor bestowed upon him.

    December 16, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Sherry in Kentucky

    The gentleman said, “This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog! This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq!” They should free him. He did what most of us here in the US would like to do if we were so lucky!

    December 16, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Tired of W, OH

    I agree with "Sarge in Florida". Bush doesn't need to be wasting money that we don't have for one final ego flight. It's like the dog going back to take one last look at his "business."

    The "Lame DUCK!" incident is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. How do we expect them to treat us after what our country has done to theirs???

    December 16, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. DC in New York City

    Oh I guess getting rid of Saddam and his evil sons was a bad thing.

    December 16, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. Kansas For Obama

    I think feces would of been a better jesture. :-)

    December 16, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. AJ

    They need to free him, give him a medal and throw a parade in his honor. Bush is a contemptable human being.

    December 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. voter

    I applaud him, Bush can have my shoes too!

    December 16, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. Joyce

    I think that he should stay in jail. No one has the right to attack our president. He should have enough words to use if he is a good writer. I it were me I would have the scret service

    December 16, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. Juge

    Why should this man be punished for telling the truth and expressing the true feelings Iraqis have for THE BUSH and his cronies.

    December 16, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Marsha

    Free the Shoe thrower!

    December 16, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. geen

    watching the footage on media, I could not help thinking t hat even the Moron didn't think himself worth saving..I mean, look...first shoe is thrown..moron ducks...STANDS UP AGAIN, instead of ducking behind podium, other shoe is thrown...MORON deflects it...I mean..what the hell..and, the fact that media says that Americans were 'offended' by that display of irreverence towards 'our' president..i kind of think that the sentiments of the Iraqi's against this hitleresque Moron who invaded their country, caused the senseless deaths not only of nearly 4210 americans and counting, but also of nearly 100,000 innocent Iraqi's, which, in FACT was the reason for the shoes being thrown. Don't be confused on this event...Journalist who threw that shoe had witnessed the deaths of thousands of his countryman by a foreign power...The question isn't whether he would have thrown the shoe at Saddam, did the Moron's regime not kill him; the question is, if Saddam HAD invaded THIS country as the Moron irrationally feared, I, as an American, would have thrown a SHOE at HIM! Don't skew the facts. As americans, just was in another illegal war nearly 40 years ago, we simply do not understand other cultures and their mores...not to mention that there are few in the Moron's regime who could,even if they tried.

    December 16, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Jos/TN

    the shoe thrower should go free, Bush aren't being punished for war crimes

    December 16, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. PL

    I do not support this presidents policies, but he is still our President and should be safe where ever he travels. This guy was wrong and should be punished. As an American I was offended by this guy attacking our president. Would Americans, do that to a foreign leader in the press room of the white house? I think not. Reguardless what you think of Bush's policies, he's still our President and should be treated as such at home or abroad.

    December 16, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. Tim

    Yes let him go. And then when I see Obama and throw my shoe at him for stealing my hard earned money, I'll have a built in excuse, and you can just attribute it to my freedom of speech.

    The liberal spew on this site is disgusting. I'm sure my comment will be be moderated out, out of some twisted sense of what is appropriate. You need to be respectul of other authors and commenters, but not of the President of the United States. I guess it's ok to spew your hate at a sitting president, but not at the vile, pond-scum sucking vermin who frequent this site. I love the change we can all believe in.

    December 16, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Noah

    You Liberals are out of your minds. This guy is lucky he was not taken out permanently by Secret Service agents who had eveyr right to do that. Why hasn't the mainstream media yet released the fact that this guy worked for a pro-Saddam newspaper? The only reason this guy was free to act like an idiot is because of the freedoms that our soldiers gave this savage. Saddam would have had him tortured and killed if he threw a shoe at him.

    December 16, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. Bridgette-PA

    I am with alot of you when it comes to charges being bought against our current President. I can not stand what he and his administration has done to our country. However, BUSH IS STILL THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. We should not justify this type of behavior. I am sorry, I just can't agree with most of you on this blog today. How would you feel it was a knife and the guy didn't miss?? Come on, Let's be real. I AM AN AMERICAN AND WE CANNOT JUSTIFY THIS BEHAVIOR FROM ANYONE, NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE FROM AND NO MATTER WHERE OUR PRESIDENT IS VISITING. If people want to burn his picture and shout obscenities, so be it. When people are becoming physically violent, THEY HAVE CROSSED THE LINE!

    December 16, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. sammy

    I dont know what the big deal is. Bush was throw with eggs on his inaguration day by his own people. The only president in history to not walk to traditional walk down PA avenue. Cut short, due to "bad weather". he was egged, check it out on Youtube.So he should be used to it. The man deserves no rerspect.

    December 16, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. lany

    There are too many widows and orphans in Iraq. It doesn't matter who is the cause: bush or Saddam. The war in Iraq was as wrong. Two shoes cannot even tell the pain and suffering inflicted to the people..

    December 16, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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