BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) - The monument commemorating the journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush was taken down a day after it was erected, local officials in Tikrit told CNN.
A huge sculpture of the footwear hurled at President Bush last year during a trip to Iraq has been unveiled at the Tikrit Orphanage complex during a Thursday ceremony.
Assisted by kids at the home, sculptor Laith al-Amiri erected a brown replica of one of the shoes hurled last month by journalist Muntadhir al-Zaidi during a press conference in Baghdad at Bush and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
But officials from Salaheddin province told CNN that the monument was removed after a request from the central government, which has charges pending against al-Zaidi - now in an Iraqi jail.
After the request was made, Iraqi police visited the location to make sure that the shoe monument was removed.
"We will not allow anyone to use the government facilities and buildings for political motives," said Abdullah Jabara, Salaheddin deputy governor.
Al-Zaidi's angry gesture touched a defiant nerve throughout the Arab and Muslim world. He is regarded by many people as a hero and demonstrators last month took to the streets in the Arab world and called for his release.
Made of fiberglass and coated with copper, the monument consists of the shoe sitting on a concrete base. The entire monument is 3.5 meters high. The shoe is 2.5 meters long and 1.5 meters wide.
The orphans helped al-Amiri build the $5,000 structure in 15 days, said Faten Abdulqader al-Naseri, the orphanage director.
"Those orphans who helped the sculptor in building this monument were the victims of Bush's war," Al-Naseri said. "The shoe monument is a gift to the
next generation to remember the heroic action by the journalist."
Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader toppled by the United States in
2003, was from the Tikrit region.
Al-Zaidi marked his 30th birthday in jail earlier this month. One of his brothers told CNN he "in good health and is being treated well."
Al-Zaidi's employer, TV network al-Baghdadia, keeps a picture of him at the top left side of the screen with a calendar showing the number of days he has spent in detention. The network has been calling for his release.
By tradition, throwing a shoe, is the most insulting act in the Arab world.
–CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this story