Arab world hails shoe attack as Bush's farewell gift | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 16, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 16, 2008

Arab world hails shoe attack as Bush's farewell gift


APTN and CNN video images show a man throws shoe at US President George W Bush and he ducks to escape the unusual assault during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Sunday in Baghdad. The man threw two shoes at Bush, one after another. Bush ducked both throws as the shoes fail to hit him. Photo: AP, AFP

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Iraq faced mounting calls yesterday to release the journalist who hurled his shoes at George W Bush, an action branded shameful by the government but hailed by many in the Arab world as an ideal parting gift to the unpopular US president.
Colleagues of Muntazer al-Zaidi, who works for independent Iraqi television station Al-Baghdadia, said he "detested America" and had been plotting such an attack for months against the man who ordered the invasion of his country.
"Throwing the shoes at Bush was the best goodbye kiss ever... it expresses how Iraqis and other Arabs hate Bush," wrote Musa Barhoumeh, editor of Jordan's independent Al-Gahd Arabic newspaper.
Hundreds of Iraqis joined anti-US demonstrations to protest at Bush's farewell visit on Sunday to Iraq, which was plunged into a deadly insurgency and near civil war in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion.
The Iraqi government however branded Zaidi's actions as "shameful" and demanded an apology from his Cairo-based employer, which in turn was calling for his immediate release from custody.
Zaidi jumped up as Bush was holding a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Sunday, shouted "It is the farewell kiss, you dog" and threw two shoes at the US leader.
The shoes missed after Bush ducked and Zaidi was immediately wrestled to the ground by security guards and frogmarched from the room.
It is not known where Zaidi is currently being held.
"Al-Baghdadia television demands that the Iraqi authorities immediately release their stringer Muntazer al-Zaidi, in line with the democracy and freedom of expression that the American authorities promised the Iraqi people," it said in a statement.
"Any measures against Muntazer will be considered the acts of a dictatorial regime."

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