Group protests for shoe-thrower's release at White House
Published: Wednesday December 17, 2008

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UPDATE: AP: WASHINGTON - About 20 people have protested the war in Iraq by tossing shoes at a fellow demonstrator wearing a prison uniform and mask of President George W. Bush outside the White House.

The group yelled, "This is a goodbye kiss from the people of America!" They also arranged along a curb about 120 pairs of shoes tagged with the names of Iraqis who have died as a result of the war.

Medea Benjamin, of the national peace group CODEPINK, says the protest was organized as a show of solidarity with Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi (MOON'-tuh-dahr ahl-zay-EE'-dee), who was jailed after throwing his shoes at Bush during a news conference in Baghdad on Sunday.

The protesters on Tuesday delivered a letter to the Iraqi embassy calling for al-Zeidi to be released from jail.

Earlier story: The theatrical anti-war group Code Pink plans to gather outside the White House today to protest for the release of the Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush over the weekend.

The activists plan to show up with a "large supply of shoes" in order to show solidarity with Muntader al-Zaidi, who has been in custody since disrupting a weekend press conference with the size-10 projectiles.

It's unclear whether there are plans to actually throw the shoes at the White House, but there's been some discussion of setting up a cardboard cut-out of President Bush and offering prizes to anyone able to knock it over. Bush nimbly dodged the shoes that were flung at his head during the press conference, but White House press secretary Dana Perino sustained a black eye in the resulting melee.

Al-Zaidi has become something of a folk-hero in parts of the Arab world, and his shoe-throwing is becoming a symbol of dissatisfaction with Bush's bungled war in Iraq.

"It's outrageous that al-Zaidi could get two years in prison for insulting George Bush, when Bush is directly responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis and 4,200 U.S. troops, and 5 million displaced Iraqis," Code Pink's Medea Benjamin said in a news release. "The one who should be in jail is George Bush, and he should be charged with war crimes."

RAW STORY plans to post photos and video of the protests later today.

Code Pink is known in particular for attempts to rush politicians; they interrupted a Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) fundraiser and General David Petraeus' testimony to Congress in 2007, and had one of its members intercepted by the Secret Service when they climbed onstage during a speech by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) this year.

The group, formally called "Code Pink: Women for Peace," was started in the run-up to the Iraq war as a "grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare" and education.