List of shoe throwing incidents

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For the use of shoes for entertainment, see Shoe tossing. For the process of affixing horseshoes, see Shoeing (horses).
President George W. Bush ducking a thrown shoe, while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki attempts to catch it.[1]

Shoe-throwing, or shoeing, showing the sole of one's shoe or using shoes to insult are forms of protest in many parts of the world. Incidents where shoes were thrown at political figures have taken place in Australia, India, Ireland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and most notably the Arab world.[2][3]

Posters of George W. Bush's face have long appeared through the Middle East with shoes attached to them, and some people have called former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice kundara, meaning "shoe".[3] Shoeing received attention after Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at then U.S. President George W. Bush in a 14 December 2008, press conference in Baghdad, Iraq. Since the al-Zaidi incident, copycat incidents in Europe, North America, India, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Turkey[4] and Australia[5] have been reported.

Context[edit]

Further information: Taharah and Islamic hygienical jurisprudence

Shoes are considered unclean in the Arab World. Matthew Cassel of The Electronic Intifada in the context of the "Bush shoeing" incident has expressed the opinion that the Western media overplayed the phenomenon as being "Arab" in particular.[6]

Notable incidents[edit]

2008[edit]

The shoe thrown at President Bush during a press conference in Iraq in 2008. Photograph taken at the Museum in TriBeCa, New York City.
Cartoosh's View
  • 14 December: During a press conference at the Prime Minister's Palace in Baghdad, Iraq, journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his shoes at then United States President George W. Bush. "This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog!" yelled al-Zaidi in Arabic as he threw his first shoe towards the U.S. president.[1] "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq", he shouted as he threw his second shoe.[1] President Bush ducked twice, avoiding being hit by the shoes. Al-Zaidi was then pulled to the floor[8] by another journalist[9] before being grabbed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's guards, kicked, and rushed out of the room. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino was hit in the face by a microphone boom sent flying by a presidential bodyguard, resulting in a black eye.[10] Some Iraqi reporters present at the scene offered apologies to President Bush. "Thanks for apologizing on behalf of the Iraqi people. It doesn't bother me", Bush joked: "If you want the facts, it's a size 10 shoe that he threw."[11] When asked about the incident by another reporter, Bush said "It's a way for people to draw attention. I don't know what the guy's cause was. I didn't feel the least bit threatened by it."[12] When later asked to reflect on the incident, Bush said "I didn't have much time to reflect on anything, I was ducking and dodging. I'm not angry with the system. I believe that a free society is emerging, and a free society is necessary for our own security and peace", he added.[13] "I don't think that you can take one guy throwing his shoe as representative of the people of Iraq", said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino.[14] The Turkish company that made the shoes thrown at Bush, Ramazan Baydan, experienced a surge in sales. Orders for 300,000 pairs were received in one week.[15] The incident has inspired several online shoe-throwing games,[16] and on the Late Show with David Letterman, the "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches" segment included flying shoes aimed at other presidents (via digitally-altered stock footage).[citation needed]
  • 17 December: Queens resident and Amtrak employee Stephen Millies, a protestor at a meeting of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York City (MTA), tried to throw his shoe at the CEO of the MTA with the statement, "This shoe is for you!" Millies managed to shake off his left shoe before being stopped and detained by MTA Police.[17]
In Canada, protesters threw shoes at a poster of George Bush in front of the U.S. consulate in Montreal during a protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • 20 December: Protesters in Montreal and Toronto threw shoes at posters of then-U.S. President George W. Bush in front of their respective U.S. consulates to support Muntadhar al-Zaidi, to demand his immediate release, and to celebrate his gesture. The shoe tosses took place in −24 °C weather during protests against the U.S. military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and against Canada's involvement in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. At the shoe toss event in Toronto, Ahmed Habib, a refugee from Baghdad, said, "We don't think of Muntadhar al-Zaidi as a criminal but, in fact, we think of him as a hero. The only war criminal is George Bush and his buddy Stephen Harper, so shame on the both of them."[23]
  • 20 December: Ukrainian reporter Ihor Dmitriv pelted a Ukrainian politician with a shoe when Dmitriv became angered by the politician's sexist remarks. Speaking in NATO accession, Oleh Soskin said NATO membership was more favored by the Ukrainian women, as they were "the more intelligent" part of the body politic. Dmitriv said his attack was motivated by the Ukrainian leadership's "craziness" and said "a shoe is going to become a leading means (for common people) to influence their leaders."[24]

2009[edit]

  • 12 January: Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made fun of the 20 December 2008 incident with Ihor Dmitriv and "threatened" to throw his shoes at reporters when visiting Couromoda 2009, a shoes event held in São Paulo.[25]
  • 20 January: Protesters in the United States shoed an inflatable replica of George W. Bush in replication of al-Zaidi's shoe-throwing incident.[26]
  • 2 February: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was in London, speaking with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown about economic cooperation and trade relations between China and the United Kingdom.[27] That day, Wen was scheduled to give the Rede Lecture at the University of Cambridge entitled, "See China in the Light of Her Development". As Wen came to the end of his lecture, a man, later identified as a 27-year-old German national Martin Jahnke,[28] stood from the audience, blew a whistle and shouted, "How can the university prostitute itself with this dictator here? How can you listen to these lies he's telling?" Jahnke then threw his shoe at Wen, although the shoe landed a few feet away.[27] Fellow members of the audience shouted at Jahnke, "Shame on you", as he was escorted out of the auditorium.[29] Jahnke was promptly removed from the lecture by university proctors and then arrested by police on suspicion of breach of the peace and attempted assault.[30] After the shoe was thrown, Premier Wen commented, "this despicable behaviour cannot stand in the way of friendship between China and the UK."[27] University Vice-Chancellor Alison Richard commented, "I deeply regret that a single member of the audience this afternoon failed to show the respect for our speaker that is customary at Cambridge. This university is a place for considered argument and debate, not for shoe-throwing." Premier Wen urged leniency for the German student. "Education is best for a young student, and I hope he will have the opportunity to continue his education. The return of a prodigal is worth more than gold", said the message from Wen, posted on the Foreign Ministry website.[31] A district judge later concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove that Jahnke's behavior had caused harassment, alarm or distress to the Chinese leader or anyone else in the lecture theater. Human rights campaigners cheered him as he left Cambridge Magistrates' Court.[32] "I didn't want to hit the premier personally. I thought just placing the shoe on the stage would be universally understood. What it was meant to be was a symbolic protest. I didn't intend to hurt people."[33] During his trial, Jahnke's lawyers alleged that his prosecution was being pushed forward under pressure from the Chinese government, and that there had been political interference in the trial, though this accusation was dismissed by the trial judge due to lack of evidence.[34]
  • 5 February: Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan was hit by a protester's shoe while speaking about the 2009 Gaza War. The shoe throwers reportedly chanted "Murderer!" and "Intifada!".[35]
  • 6 March: During a trip to the city of Urmia, someone threw a shoe at the motorcade of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. People had become angry after the president's convoy hit an elderly man but did not stop. A shoe had previously been thrown at Ahmadinejad at Amir Kabir University in 2006.[36]
  • 17 March: Canadian protesters in Calgary used shoes as props during their demonstrations, even going so far as to create a "shoe cannon".[37]
  • April: Some shareholders in Fortis bank threw their shoes at executives in opposition to the decision to sell part of the bank to BNP Paribas.[39][40]
  • April: BJP worker Pavas Agrawal hurled a slipper at BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani.[41] Agrawal was arrested for interrogation.
  • 7 April: India's Home Minister P. Chidambaram was shoed by Jarnail Singh, a Sikh journalist who works at the Hindi daily Dainik Jagaran.[42] Chidamabaram was asked a question by Jarnail Singh on the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) clean chit to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. He said that CBI was not under the home ministry, and no ministry of the government had put any pressure on the CBI. He said that "It is for the court to accept or reject or ask for further investigation by CBI. Let us wait for the court decision". When Jarnail Singh persisted with his questions, Chidambaram told him "no arguments, you are using this forum". Following this the journalist lobbed his shoe saying 'I protest'. Thrown underhand with little force, the shoe narrowly missed hitting Chidambaram. The action caused a flutter in the hall.[43][verification needed] Chidambaram responded to the situation in a composed manner and said that the journalist should be removed from the press conference hall gently. Chidambaram said to the reporters, "let not the action of one emotional person hijack the entire press conference. I have answered his questions to the best of my ability." After the incident, Singh said that he was sorry for the method of protest he adopted, but issue is right. He added that he felt upset that the government had not done justice in the anti-Sikh riots. Singh also appealed to journalists and others not to repeat his actions. Asked if he could have used some other manner to protest, "For the last 25 years this has been happening. So what other method is left (to protest)", Jarnail Singh said.[44] Jarnail Singh was let off without any charges on the insistence of Chidambaram. The whole incident set off a major media feeding frenzy with 24x7 TV coverage and snowballed into a major election issue which embarrassed Congress politically. The police said that no complaint was lodged with them, and Chidambaram said that the journalist should be forgiven.[45] A few Sikh bodies came out in Singh's support and even offered rewards. The shoe throwing incident also sparked off widespread protests by Sikhs against the CBI which had given a clean chit to Tytler.[46] After the shoe throwing incident, Congress calculated politically that all the media controversy created could make it lose many seats especially in Punjab. Fearing further controversy, Congress dropped both Tytler and Sajjan Kumar as congress candidates from Lok Sabha 2009 elections.[47]
  • '26 April: During an election rally, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came under a shoe attack in Ahmedabad. A 28-year-old man made an attempt to throw a shoe at Singh while he was addressing the rally. The shoe landed a few meters away from Singh. Soon after the incident took place, the shoe thrower was taken away by police. Singh asked the police not to file any charges. The incident was condemned by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and was called an "unestablished way of protesting against democracy."[49]
  • 1 October: A student threw a shoe at the director of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, as he addressed a university in Istanbul, Turkey.[51] The shoe did not hit Strauss-Khan but landed on the stage. The student, Selçuk Özbek, from the left-wing newspaper BirGün, was taken away by security as he shouted "IMF get out!" A female protestor was also escorted from the hall[52] while others shouted, "Go away IMF, you're stealing money."[53]
  • 23 October: Supporters of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threw their shoes at opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi as he visited Tehran during the 2009 Iranian election protests. A fight broke out between supporters of Ahmadinejad and Karroubi and one of the Ahmadinejad supporters threw a shoe at Karroubi, which hit him in the face and resulted in his turban falling off.[54]
  • 1 December: Muntadhar al-Zaidi, who first shoed George W. Bush, was shoed himself in Paris by an exiled Iraqi journalist,[56] Al-Zaidi later said, "He stole my technique."[57] who accused him of "working for dictatorship in Iraq".[58] The incident occurred while al-Zaidi was speaking about his experiences during the Bush shoeing and its aftermath.[59]

2010[edit]

  • January: During a public meeting, a man threw a shoe at Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in the Friendship Hall in Khartoum, which missed. The man was later detained by security forces, while the President's office denied the incident took place and said the man was arrested as he attempted to pass a letter to al-Bashir.[60][61] Witnesses described the man, whose reasons for throwing the shoe were unclear, as calm as he was detained.[62]
  • 27 January: During a hearing on medical marijuana, 52-year-old Pinchas Cohen hurled his sneaker at President of the Supreme Court of Israel Dorit Beinisch. The shoe struck Beinisch between the eyes, breaking her glasses and knocking her off her chair. Cohen, disgruntled over a family court decision four years prior, was arrested for the act. Cohen later apologized to Beinisch.[63][64]
  • February: A 26-year old Kurd with Syrian citizenship tried to shoe Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Sevilla. The shoes missed Erdogan. While throwing the shoes, the man called, "long live free Kurdistan".[65][66]
  • 6 March: Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang, attended a youth summit in Chai Wan, Hong Kong, organized by the Home Affairs Bureau. A 31-year-old man threw a shoe at Tang, and it landed on the stage meters away from him. The man was taken away by police. The man was unemployed after getting fired by a computer company, and the government policies were not helping him. He said he was not a "post-80s" teen, but supported the highspeed rail protest connecting HK to Guangdong.[67] Before the summit, about 30 people from several youth groups gathered outside the building to wave banners and said the forum was a fake consultation and that young people's opinions were neglected.[68] When Tang left the building, protesters tried to block his passage and demanded to speak to him. One protester laid on the road in front of Tang's car and had to be forcibly removed by the police. A protester said that the topics discussed in the summit are not those that any young person would be interested in.[68]
  • 7 August: President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari was targeted by a 50-year-old man named Sardar Shamim Khan, who hurled a pair of shoes at him during Zardari's visit to Birmingham, England. Khan was wrestled down by security guards after he threw two shoes and shouted ‘killer’ as Zardari spoke during a political rally at the International Convention Centre. The shoes did not hit Zardari, who did not respond to the attack. Khan was believed to be a Pakistani national from Derby who was sitting in the front row at the rally. He was dressed in a traditional Shalwar kameez. Following the incident, he was led away by police, questioned, and later released without charge.[69]
  • 15 August: A police officer hurled his brown leather shoe at Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.[70] The chief minister was about to address a gathering organised on India's 64th Independence Day. The officer, identified as assistant sub-inspector of police Abdul Ahad Jan, later waved a black flag, shouting pro-freedom slogans against the Indian rule in the disputed territory. Abdullah's security men escorted the officer from the function venue.[71]
  • 11 September: A shoe was thrown at Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou while he was inaugurating the Thessaloniki International Trade Fair. Stergios Prapavesis, a 50-year old radiologist and militant of the Patriotic Front (PAM), tossed the shoe, shouting, "You are not a patriot, you are a traitor", referring to the decision of the Greek government under Papandreou to accept IMF, ECB, and EU austerity measures. The shoe missed him by inches while Prapavesis, along with his 15-year-old daughter and farmer Stavros Vitalis, who was with the pair at the time, was apprehended.[74] On its website, the group "calls upon the Greek people to express their displeasure by throwing their old shoes along the Prime Minister's journey from the airport to the Thessaloniki International Fair." Prapavesis described the shoe-throwing incident as "a political act against the government's austerity policies" and warned that "many more will follow."[75]

2011[edit]

A demonstration in Cairo. The sign has an open source caricature by Carlos Latuff, which features shoeing.
  • 19 May: Fang Binxing, the Principal of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (also known as "Father of China's Great Fire Wall"[84][85]) was hit on the chest by a shoe thrown at him by a Huazhong University of Science and Technology student who calls herself "hanunyi" (Chinese:寒君依, or 小湖北) while Fang was giving a lecture at Wuhan University. According to RFI, the student discussed the planned shoe attack on Twitter and, with the help of other bloggers, was able to locate the exact whereabouts and the time of Fang's lecture. After the shoeing, "Hanunyi" walked out while other students tried to obstruct school teachers who were going to detain her. "Hanunyi" became an instant internet hero of the Chinese blogosphere.[86][87][88][89][90][91] During an interview with CNN, "Hanunyi" said, "I'm not happy about what (Fang) does. His work made me spend unnecessary money to get access to the website that is supposed to be free... He makes my online surfing very inconvenient."[92]
  • 6 June: Congress spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi was targeted at a press conference by a man who tried to throw a shoe at him. It was reaction after Delhi Police ordered dismantle act against Yoga Teacher Baba Ramdev's Protest against Corruption.[clarification needed] The attacker, Sunil Kumar, posed as a journalist working with Nav Sanchar Patrika of Rajasthan.[93]
  • 12 December: 45-year-old textile worker identified as S. Rashid hurled his shoes at Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in protest for not having received unemployment benefits. Rashid missed, instead striking a banner behind the president. Rashid was jailed before for throwing eggs and tomatoes at former president Mohammad Khatami.[95]

2012[edit]

  • 7 January: Numerous German protesters, unhappy with President Christian Wulff's behaviour in a private loan scandal, waved the soles of their shoes at his official residence, calling for him to resign.[96]
  • 23 January: A shoe was thrown at Congress General Secretary and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi during an election rally in Dehradun, India. One person was detained for throwing the shoe. "If some people think that throwing a shoe will deter me and force me to run away, then they are mistaken. Rahul Gandhi will not run away," Gandhi said.[97]
  • 11 May: In Oslo, Norway, an Iraqi man threw a shoe at Anders Behring Breivik during Breivik's trial for mass murder. The man shouted in English, "You killed my brother! Go to hell!" The man throwing the shoe was the brother of one of Breivik's victims on Utøya. The shoe did not hit Breivik, but hit instead Vibeke Hein Bæra, one of Breivik's lawyers. Some onlookers cheered and applauded the shoe-throwing. The trial was temporarily suspended following the incident.[98]

2013[edit]

Taiwanese people donate old shoes all around the country to support protest and shoe-throwing against Ma Ying-jeou administration and the ruling party KMT[102]
  • 29 March: Tajammul Lodhi, a Karachi lawyer, threw his shoe at Pervez Musharraf while Musharraf was leaving Sindh High Court after obtaining an extension of his pre-arrest bail in a series of cases. Lodhi later said in an interview that he had thrown the shoe because he hated Musharraf for trying to destroy democracy in Pakistan. Musharraf was hit on the nose.[107]
  • 8 September: In Taipei, Taiwan, some protesters gathered in front of the Office of the President and threw shoes toward President of the Republic of China Ma Ying-jeou, but he was not hit by these shoes.[108] This was one of the first occurrences of which Ma had shoes thrown at him during public appearances. This became such a problem that various police departments in Taiwan spent NT$482,890 (US$16,000) to purchase 149 anti-shoeing nets.[109]
  • 18 September: A shoe was thrown at Liu Cheng-hung, then-Magistrate of Miaoli County, Taiwan, when he attempted to offer his condolences to the family of a man found dead in a water channel under a bridge at Dapu, Zhunan, Miaoli County. Supporters and relatives of the drowned man held Liu responsible for the man's death because the man's pharmacy was one of several structures destroyed by the Miaoli government earlier that July to make way for the construction of a new campus at the Hsinchu Science Park. The shoe, which was owned by protester Chen Wei-Ting, hit Liu in the head.[110][111]
  • 29 September: In Taipei City, Taiwan, some protesters gathered in front of the Office of the President and threw shoes at President Ma Ying-jeou, but he was not hit by these shoes.[113]
  • 10 October: In Taipei City, Taiwan, some protesters gathered in front of Office of the President and threw shoes, toward President Ma Ying-jeou during an activity related to Taiwan National Day, but he was not hit by these shoes.[114]
  • 12 October: In Chiayi County, Taiwan, some protesters threw shoes at President Ma Ying-jeou's convoy during the Mayoral Forum of Kuomintang. The police tried to avoid conflict between protesters and the convoy by implementing a one-story-high shoes-catching net. Several shoes thrown by protesters were caught by the special net; Ma Ying-jeou was not hit.[115][116]
  • 19 October: In Keelung, Taiwan, some protesters threw shoes at President Ma Ying-jeou during an activity related to anniversary of the founding of National Taiwan Ocean University, but he was not hit by these shoes.[117]
  • 19 October: In Taipei City, Taiwan, a protester threw a shoe at President Ma Ying-jeou during the opening ceremony of the 2013 National Games, but he was not hit by the shoe.[118]
  • 20 October: In Taipei City, Taiwan, some protesters threw shoes at President Ma Ying-jeou during the Taipei Hakka Yimin Festival, but he was not hit by these shoes.[119]
  • 10 November: In Wuqi District, Taichung, Taiwan, protesters threw shoes at Ma Ying-Jeou’s convoy when passing by while Ma attended the Kuomintang's (KMT) 19th National Congress meeting. Ma was not hit by these shoes due to heavy police security implementations. Containers with urine and fireworks were also used in the protests.[citation needed]

2014[edit]

  • 10 April: In Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, a female protestor threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton during a scrap metal recycling conference. She was not hit by the shoe and subsequently joked about it.[120][121]
  • 19 April: In Lahti, Finland, the supporters of FC Lahti waved their shoes during a football match against HJK Helsinki in disrespect of the HJK team and supporters. Before the game, local police stopped a fight between 40 supporters from Lahti and Helsinki.[122]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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