December 16th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
12 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. Jim Schimmer

    C'on let him go....

    What ever happened to FREE SPEECH??

    They broke his bones, he's bleeding internally, what else... This is shameful...

    December 16, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. therealist

    The progressive MSM is clearly cheering him on. Not that there's anything wrong with making the news..

    December 16, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Free American

    early situation for this Iraqi gov. lets hope they make the right decision. Sure some punishment for public protest of this nature, as would happen in US, but lets see how deep, will this delicate new gov. allow such deep criticism to be tolerated as a standard for themselves. . . lets see what they do. . . Democracy in Iraq ; Aggressive Civil Protest; take one. . . and . . . ACTION!

    December 16, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |

    It was a gutsy thing to do but at the same time highly disrespectful towards President Bush.

    I hope he doesn't serve time in prison for it.

    December 16, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. sandee in Portland

    At least he can throw shoes now. Under Sadam he would have been killed for doing such a thing. He should be treated just like protesters are in our country; put in jail, fined and let go. After all, there was no real bodily threat other than maybe pounding some sense into Bush's head.

    December 16, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz








    December 16, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Tim

    Look, I HATE Bush, but you can't let him get away completely unpunished. Give him a slap on the wrist, but you can't let people with journalist clearance get away with that. We helped their country get blown apart but they have to get back to being run by the rule of law.

    December 16, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  8. proudliberal-independent


    December 16, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. Barbara

    Too bad it wasn't a size 16 may have connected... He refuses to acknowledge the pain and suffering inflicted through his "Pre-Emptive" war on Iraqis and Americans....
    Such arrogance... spit in his eye and he thinks it is raining!

    December 16, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Isaac

    He's my hero!

    December 16, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. Gifty

    He should be jailed for just 10 years.

    December 16, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Jesse, MA.

    Ok, I dislike Bush as much as the next sane person, but this is not acceptable. Regardless of his record as President, he is still just that, our President. That being the case, Bush should still command a level of respect. If an American threw a shoe at Bush in a press conference, they would be in jail as well.
    And what is this talk about giving him a medal? For what? A temper tantrum? A totally inconsequential display of contempt for someone deserving? Possibly, but it makes no difference. I equate this guy with Joe the douche bag, oh, I mean plumber. In that they are completely out of the realm of significance.

    December 16, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Ken

    To Joe (on today's Cheney ticker):

    "I love how the intelligence of the current administration has been attacked incessantly for the past 8 years…"
    I love how the rightwing true-believers continue to support this moronic administration despite its consistent track record of undisputed failure in almost every aspect of national policy.

    "I love how the sheep following Obama love to tell those that don't agree with themselves to "think for yourselves"…"
    I love how those neo-tards that follow Bush/Cheney to this day try to demean others who want to implement the change that is so clearly needed away from the disaster that [R]s have inflicted on this county. Who are the real sheep here?.....Only sheep would be so docile while they were herded, this time by McCain, for the slaughter.....I heard an awful lot of vacuous bleating at the [R] convention.

    "I love how Obama thought that 10,000 people died in the Greensburg, KS tornado…(it was "
    I love how dimwit fans of Rush believe everything he has to say.

    "I love how Obama thinks that we have 58 states…"
    I love how an obvious verbal glitch from a clearly intelligent [D] somehow deserves more rebuke than the obvious lack of knowledge from an obvious twit-of-a-[R] who thinks Africa is a country.

    "I love how the "wise" constantly make themselves look foolish…"
    I love how the foolish have no problem making themselves look even more foolish; how a lack of information is a cultural goal and a lack of cogent analysis is worn like a badge of honor

    "I love how "change" looks a lot like the same…"
    I love how those that attempt to demean the current "change" by saying it looks a lot like "the same" are so scared of "the same", when that's exactly what they voted for. See above re: "cogent analysis"

    "I fear that America has begun an irrevocable descent from greatness toward mediocrity and irrelevance…"
    I KNOW that for the past 8 years America has been in a steep descent from greatness towards a glorified stupidity and an irrelevancy enforced by other countries of the world.

    Joe, I think you like to have your uber-partisan pontification like Rush, and like Rush and his followers, you somehow think that it substitutes for a reasoned commentary and political dialog. You might want to chew on my responses, if you can take time away from memorizing Hitler's speeches.

    December 16, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. All Americans SHOULD KNOW

    I think when it comes to kissing a Dog, the Iraqi men should pucker up. They engage in ethnic cleanzing, tribal war, and in general criminal behavure. Yet they say we Americans should carry their sorry butts more. No, I did not support the Iraqi War, but I do support our Troops 110%, they have done more than they have and are asked to do. Let the Iraqi's decide, do they want a nation of their own or a new master in Terhan. Arabs don't fight like men, the use IED's and metally handicapped people to blowup their own people and ours. They are WORTHLESS, AND A DRAIN ON THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS.

    December 16, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Kim

    Let him go. He was expressing his freedom of speech, which one of the things soldiers over have died to give them. Bush wasn't hurt, so no harm, no foul.

    There've been many times I've thrown things at Bush myself - if only his image on the tv.

    December 16, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. j

    Quite frankly, I'd like to throw my own shoes, in contempt, at Bush. I think the reporter's actions represent a large sentiment among Iraqis and Bush is too dim witted to see it, or just plain doesn't care. Yes, by all means, give him a slap on the wrist, but free the reporter. He just did what a large percentage of the world would like to do. I salute him!

    December 16, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Phil

    If Russia, under the direction of Alexander Putin, invaded the United States of America because he though, through faulty intel, that our President was a mad man, who suspended our Constitution, set up secret prisons that held people as "Enemies of the State", funneled off billions of tax dollars to crooked war profiteers and claimed that we intended to attack Russia with a new Nuclear Weapon.

    In the invasion and occupation process, which Russia called "American Freedom", Russia destroyed Washington DC and much of the surrounding residential areas with a shock and Ah saturation bombing, dismantled our military and occupied out cities, rounding up anyone who they though were anti-Russian, and held them in prisons. While in prison, many of these Americans were tortured and humiliated for their political and religious beliefs.

    These same godless invaders and occupiers, laughed at our Bible, and set up a new American government they chose made up of Americans who were loyal to the Russian during the invasion and occupation. However, this new government was unable to provide effective law and order and as a result rampant crime and murder rates, millions of families were driven from their homes and forced to flee for their lives to Canada or Mexico.

    Then this occupation by Russian troops continued on for years and years under the premises that without the Russians occupation, there would be no security in America, and that the government made up of people that the Russians help put in place wanted the Russian Troops to remain in America as advisors.

    Now tell me, would the Americans have welcomed Putins troops as liberators? Would Americans have welcomed any visit to America by Putin praising what he had done and praising the government officials he help establish as our leaders to free Americans of the "Mad Man President" we had before the Russians liberated America?

    What if a reporter from CNN was at Putin's visit speech and after covering years of new stories on all the needless death of American civilians and the destruction to our nation caused by the illegal invasion and subsequent occupation, this reporter threw a brick at Putin to show his distain of such a BS speech? Is the reporter who threw the brick to be considered a disgrace to journalists, or is he a hero to the American people?

    Is the man who threw the brick to be considered a criminal or a patriot? Just who do you think is the real criminal in this unbelievable story? Are you really dumb enough to think this is a fictional story?

    December 16, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  18. therealist

    Funny how the American MSM is ignoring the Iraqi journalist in front that partially blocked the second throw. And the two Iraqi journalists that dragged the progressively hatefilled journalist to the ground from the back before security got there.

    1 of these 4 Iraqi journalist is an American MSM hero, funny ain't it..

    December 16, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Bob Smith

    It's because of the US that this douchebag has the freedom to throw his shoes at a President. Wonder what would've happened to him had he thrown his shoes at Hussein? He would've been beheaded by now. Let him rot in jail.

    December 16, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Charla in Texas

    My daughter asked me this morning what did the president do that made that guy throw his shoes at him. Let's see, we invaded their country under false pretenses and lies, and destroyed it in the process. Seems to me Bush is lucky that shoes is all that were thrown. The citizens of Iraq have every right to be angry. Hopefully now that Bush is on his way out, the US will no longer attempt to be the "world police" and stick to what should have been done in the first place, which is a real effort to get Bin Laden.

    December 16, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. BJ

    So what if this jerk had used a gun instead of footwear? Would you idiots still want to give him a medal?

    This jerk insulted not only his own country, but he insulted the President of the United States...and yes, he is President until January 20, 2009.

    Personally, I could give a rats behind about Iraq. If they really don't want us there, lets leave and let them fend for themselves. And while we are at it, lets pull all of our troops out of Germany, Korea, and Japan. We can use them to defend our borders.

    December 16, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Vicki5

    It was just a gesture, a demonstration. I hope they let him go, entirely free.

    December 16, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Bev

    What he did was totally unacceptable whether you agree or disagree with the Bush policies. Prez Bush was a guest in his country and you alway treat guests with dignity and grace. There are other ways to voice his opinions. If this happened to the Iraqi Prez while he was here in the US, there would have been an international outcry. He should be punished.

    December 16, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. G-baby, Austin, Tx

    I don't like to critize, but I do agree with David Letterman: AS QUICK AS BUSH MOVED TO THE LEFT, HE SHOULD HAVE MOVED QUICKLY FOR THE KATRINA PEOPLE AND THE ECOMONY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 16, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. Ken

    @Mobius: you da man!

    December 16, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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