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. Charlene

    Dirty Arabs!!!!!!!!!
    Dirty Muslims !!

    December 16, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. Angel

    he is a hero....someone needed to remind this current administration how bad their foreign policies that is not a wake up call, i don't know what is. no no one is invinsible you have treat others will respect.

    December 16, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. NH-Voter

    It's a good start. Maybe his actions will inspire a bit more courage on the local front when dealing with the like of W.
    I wouldn't call it proof of 'freedom' in Iraq though, even if he is set free with a slap on the wrist. The day someone throws a shoe at Muqtada al-Sadr and walks away, that'll be proof freedom have taken root in Iraq!

    December 16, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. BreAnna - Military Brat

    I don't particularly care for President Bush, his policies and some (well most) of his actions, but he is still my President and I respect him and support him. I believe that Mr. Al-Zaidi should be subject to the appropriate consequences of his actions. Now if Mr. Al-Zaidi threw his shoes at President Elect Obama (of whom I'm a supporter of as well), my opinion wouldn't change a bit. There is a limit to "freedom of speech", and that certainly includes bodily harm.

    December 16, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Robin

    I am a Republican, but I too am not happy with the way Bush has handled his time in office.

    That being said, like him, hate him, he still is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. We should not be happy this happened, because it just shows the world how un-united we really are.

    I did not vote for Obama, but I would not want a shoe thrown at him, or anything else for that matter.

    December 16, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Ian, Minneapolis MN

    I'm sorry, but I've done everything within the law to get my voice heard. I've never partaken in violent protesting, only peaceful marches. But obviously peaceful protesting does not work. If it did, Bush would have been out of office years ago. Let the man go. Besides it's not like Bush was hurt. He's a quick one.

    December 16, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Cannon Ray

    The guy disrespected the most powerful guy on the planet, and also disrespected the law, so he should remain in Jail. It is just unacceptable.

    December 16, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Tom in Delaware

    We have the Iranian president Ahmedinejad come to America to speak against our values and mock our way of life, and we extend the necessary tolerance to hear out his views. We protest in a legal manner, and if someone gets out of hand they are prosecuted accordingly.

    The very idea that he is being lionized by the Arab World and the Liberals of this country is an indictment in itself.

    While there are calls for his release because he's 'a good man with a family', there are no calls for him to be accountable for his actions.

    Accountability is tantamount to a curse-word for the Liberal Left. It destroys all notions of the 'but you don't understand' mentality of the poor little victims of the world.

    When Obama's train drives through Delaware in January I'm going to be waving an old shoe at him. He'll get the message like the rest of you already do now.

    That's a peaceful protest. No shoe throwing allowed.

    December 16, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Charlie in Maine

    I am certainly mo fan of George W Bush or of his war of choice. However the sight of our President having to duck from a projectile stirs more anger in me at the thrower than the target.

    December 16, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Betty the maid

    Bravo to the Iraqi shoe thrower...he is the worlds hero. What a perfect ending to a perfectly disasterous presidency. Too bad it was not a brick and too bad the guy missed.


    December 16, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Matthew

    Bush is a lousy president but there's nothing honorable about throwing your shoe at someone. Plus, this guy would have been dead had Saddam still been in power.

    December 16, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. daune

    come on guys, he is still the prisedent of the us ,regardless of your feelings for him , it was very disrespecful,

    December 16, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Red, Red WHINE!!

    While I'm no fan of Bush...the man (shoe thrower) should be shot on public TV and played over and over! Let his kids watch him being given some of his own medicine!

    December 16, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Lisa in New Jersey

    That man is a HERO! If you arrested him just for throwing his shoes, the arrest Bush and the rest of his thugs for all of their war crimes. Bush is lucky it was "just" a pair of shoes!


    December 16, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Peggy

    I am republican and am not happy the way President Bush has handled everything, but do you think he acts alone – of course not! So why put all the blame on him. Where were his "so called" advisers? What do they do up there in the White House except spend our hard earned tax dollars! How do you think our soldiers feel over there in Iraq when most of Americans do not support them being there. Most of them do not want to leave until they have finished what they started for your freedom! They are proud to call themselves Americans – are you? No matter who are President is, or what he does, he is not the only sitting up there in that White House. Can you do better?

    December 16, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. Chris Thompson

    More shoes should be thrown at the War Criminal.

    December 16, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. jim

    a fitting way for Bush to leave. I can think of a lot of other things to throw at Bush!!

    December 16, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Betty the maid

    The guy is a hero...period.

    But here is something else to think about...if he is not released and is harshly punished things will get out of hand, he will be a martyr , the "democratic" Iraqi goverment will look bad and Bush's reputation will be further tarnished. Just watch and see this blow up.

    Better to let him go.

    December 16, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Shelli, WV

    I wish he would have hit him in the middle of his forehead..

    December 16, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Matt B

    I learn something new about the crazy left every day I read cnn. Apparently, there is a show-throwing phenomenon that I didn't know about sweeping the nation. I wouldn't have believed how many people in this country wanted to throw their shoes until I read these comments.

    There's nothing like the respect for the office of the President this board has shown. You people disgust me. I just hope Obama gets a little more respect and support from the right when he is in office.

    December 16, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Laverne

    I kinda wish he would have popped Bush upside the head with at least one of his shoes!

    December 16, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. barb

    I think president Bush should call the Iraq president and recommend that he be freed. That would show Bush in a different light and maybe that would decrease their hate towards him.

    December 16, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. kepary

    God bless George Bush and thank you for keeping us safe since 9-11

    December 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Matt B

    Sarge in Florida – are you a 5 year old boy? I hate when people try to correct spelling mistakes in posts but I can't even understand what you are trying to say. Can you either get someone to type for you next time or look at the keys as you type?

    December 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. Lpreddie


    December 16, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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