Iraq rally for shoe thrower

The Iraqi journalist who threw two shoes at President Bush over the weekend (he needs to work on his accuracy and arm strength – NFL teams will certainly not be trying him out) was tossed in jail afterwards.

Thousands of Iraqis have demanded the release of a local TV reporter who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush at a Baghdad news conference.

Crowds gathered in Baghdad’s Sadr City district, calling for “hero” Muntadar al-Zaidi to be freed from custody.

Officials at the Iraqi-owned TV station, al-Baghdadiya, called for the release of their journalist, saying he was exercising freedom of expression.

Iraqi officials have described the incident as shameful.

A statement released by the government said Mr Zaidi’s actions, which also included him shouting insults at President Bush, “harmed the reputation of Iraqi journalists and Iraqi journalism in general”.

Correspondents say the protesters are supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr – a leading critic of the US presence in Iraq. Smaller protests were reported in Basra and Najaf.

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