Shoe-Thrower Is Instant Hit on Arab Street

Demonstrators want journalist who took aim at Bush set free
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2008 11:10 AM CST

(Newser) – Thousands marched across Iraq today to demand the release of Muntazer al-Zaidi, the little-known Shiite journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush yesterday. Though Bush spent last night making shoe puns—I have my assailant’s “sole,” he quipped—Iraq’s government was less amused, charging al-Zaidi with insulting a visiting head of state, which carries a minimum 2-year sentence, the Times reports.

Saddam Hussein’s former lawyer says around 200 attorneys, including some Americans, have volunteered to defend al-Zaidi for free. “It was the least thing for an Iraqi to do to Bush,” he said. The TV station that employs al-Zaidi, meanwhile, demanded his release “in line with the democracy and freedom of expression that the American authorities promised the Iraqi people.”