Bush shoe protester deserves medal: poll

Overwhelming majority of respondents hail actions of Muntazer al-Zaidi and call for his release.
Bush shoe protester deserves medal: poll
By Dylan Bowman
Sun 21 Dec 2008 09:54 AM

The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at outgoing US President George W. Bush deserves a medal for his actions, according to the overwhelming majority of respondents to the latest Arabian Business spot.

Just over 43 percent of respondents agreed Muntazer al-Zaidi should be given "a medal ... and a pay rise" after the reporter for independent Iraqi television station Al-Baghdadia took off both his shoes and threw them at Bush during a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Sunday.

TV crews caught the incident on camera and within hours millions of people around the world had seen the footage.

A further 17.5 percent of respondents agreed Zaidi should be released immediately and no further action taken.

The incident has made Zaidi an instant hero in the Arab world, with many hailing it has the perfect parting gift for the unpopular US president.

A Saudi man even reportedly bid $10 million for the shoes, claiming the "shoes of dignity" had "high moral status".

Zaidi, who has been denied bail, is being held for possible trial for aggression against a foreign head of state during an official visit.

He faces between five and 15 years behind bars if convicted, but only one to five years if convicted of the lesser offence of "an attempted aggression".

Just over 20 percent of respondents to the poll agreed Zaidi should be released from detention, but fired from his job, while 18.5 percent thought he should be jailed.

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