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Protests held all over Middle East demanding release of show-throwing Iraqi TV journalist

Protests held all over Middle East
Masked Palestinian militants from the Popular Resistance Committees burn an American flag during a demonstration calling for the release of the Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi, in Gaza City, Tuesday, December 16, 2008. Al-Zaidi threw his shoes at President George W Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on Sunday, while yelling in Arabic.Photo: Associated Press (AP) / Hatem Moussa

Protests are being held across the Middle East demainding release of the Iraqi journalist who is being held for throwing his shoes at US President George W Bush on Sunday.

Huge crowds have been demonstrating in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities to demand TV reporter Muntadar al-Zaidi's release and echo his message to Bush, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. Ordinary Iraqis are praising al-Zaidi, calling him "brave," and what he did "awesome." Local media has quoted police officers, professors, dentists, and shopkeepers, all saying he did what every Iraqi would like to do.

In Baghdad's Shi'ite slum of Al-Sadr City, thousands of supporters of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr burned US flags to protest against Bush and called for al-Zaidi's release. In Al-Najaf, a Shi'ite holy city, some protesters threw their shoes at a US patrol as it passed by. Witnesses said the troops did not respond and continued on their patrol.

In Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, located north of Baghdad, an estimated 1,000 protesters carried banners and chanted slogans demanding al-Zaidi's release. A couple of hundred more also protested Tuesday in Nasiriyah, a Shiite city about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, and Fallujah, a Sunni area west of the capital.

Jordanian lawyers are signing up to help defend al-Zaidi. Bar Association chief Saleh Armouti told AP that the volunteer Jordanian lawyers want to act as a support team for Iraqi attorneys who may defend al-Zaidi since Jordanian lawyers have no legal jurisdiction in Iraqi courts. The association is dominated by hardline Muslims and leftists critical of the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Pictures of the incident ran on the front pages of newspapers on the morning of December 15 across the region, RFE/RL said. Al-Baghdadiyah, the Iraqi-owned, Cairo-based television station where al-Zaidi works, aired continuous pleas to release their reporter against a video background of explosions and music that denounced the US presence in Iraq. Satellite television channels showed the melee over and over, while on-air journalists made jokes and held discussions about the myriad ways they disagree with Bush.

Date posted: December 16, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 379