Shoe throwing at Bush evokes mixed reaction in Iraq (Second lead)

December 15th, 2008 - 4:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Baghdad, Dec 15 (DPA) An Iraqi television news reporter threw shoes at US President George W. Bush and called him a “dog” in Arabic, during a press conference in Baghdad Sunday, evoking mixed reaction from the Iraqis.Bush, who was on a farewell visit to Iraq, was addressing the press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki when the assault took place.

The assailant, identified as Montasser Al-Saidi, a reporter for al-Baghdadiyia television, was removed from the room by security staff. None of the two projectiles made contact with their apparent target.

The US president made light of the incident, saying “whoever it interests - it was a size 10 that he threw at me.”

While some quarters hailed the journalist’s action, some others condemned the incident.

“We congratulate him for his act,” said the government critical Iraqi News Agency (INA) Monday, speaking of al-Saidi.

The Sunni Council of Religious Scholars spoke of the demonstration as an “historic moment” in which Bush and the world were shown “what Iraqis think of the occupation.”

Ziad al-Ajili, chairman of the Iraq’s Organization for Press Freedom, however condemned al-Saidi’s “unprofessional behaviour.”

In Arab cultures being attacked with shoes is a sign of profound disrespect, as is being called a dog.

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