PARIS, (Reuters) – An Iraqi reporter imprisoned for throwing his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush found himself on the receiving end of a similar footwear attack in Paris on Tuesday.
Muntazer al-Zaidi, whose flare-up against Bush last December turned into a symbol of Iraqi anger, was speaking at a news conference to promote his campaign for victims of the war in Iraq when a man in the audience hurled a shoe at him.
It hit the wall next to his head and a scuffle ensued in the audience, television footage showed.
French media said the attacker was an exiled Iraqi journalist who spoke in defence of U.S. policy, accusing Zaidi of siding with a dictatorship, before throwing his shoe. Zaidi’s own outburst summed up the feelings of many Iraqis about the U.S. military invasion of their country and the ensuing bloodshed and sectarian killing.
Millions of people around the world saw images of him shouting “this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog,” during a news conference by the former U.S. leader, before throwing his shoes at him.
Zaidi, a television reporter, was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for assaulting a head of state. This was later reduced to one year and he was released in September. He has alleged that he was tortured by guards after his arrest.