CBC News reports that thousands of Iraqis are protesting the arrest of Muntadar al-Zaidi.
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President Bush is returning to Washington after making surprise trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. In Baghdad, a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was interrupted when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President Bush. The shoes almost hit Bush in the head. The journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi, screamed in Arabic, “This is a farewell kiss, you dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq." Al-Zaidi works as a reporter for the Cairo-based satellite channel Al-Baghdadia TV. Security guards removed him from the room while reportedly kicking and beating him. He is still being held by Iraqi officials. Al-Baghdadia TV has called for al-Zaidi’s release.
Al-Baghdadia News Anchor: “Al-Baghdadia TV channel calls on the Iraqi authorities to immediately release its employee, Muntadar al-Zaidi, in accordance with the democratic freedom of expression that the new regime, the US authorities and the Iraqi government have promised. Any actions taken against Muntadar will make us recall the time of the dictator era when violence, random arrests, mass graves, and ignoring of general freedoms existed. Baghdadia channel calls for international, Iraqi and Arab media institutions to support Muntadar al-Zaidi and call for his release.”
At a demonstration in Sadr City earlier today, protesters called for the release of Muntadar al-Zaidi, while throwing shoes at passing US military vehicles. Uday al-Zaidi praised his brother Muntadar for throwing his shoes at President Bush.
Uday al-Zaidi: "Millions of Iraqis, or rather millions of the people of the world, wish to do what Muntadar has done or do something similar. Thank God he had the guts to do it and avenge the Iraqi people and the country from those who plunder it and have killed its people.”