BAGHDAD: The Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush in 2008 during an infamous news conference is now running for parliament in Iraq.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi gained fame when he hurled his shoes at Bush during a Baghdad news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
While Bush flew home, al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years in prison, which was eventually reduced to just 12 months. He was released after nine months after being granted a conditional discharge. Al-Zaidi became a worldwide celebrity after throwing his shoes at Bush
Fast-forward to 2018 and Al-Zaidi is now a candidate in the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections on May 12.
Al-Zaidi has spent much of his time outside Iraq since being released from prison in 2009 but returned two months ago to take part in the elections after living in Beirut, Lebanon.
“As you know me from a long time ago, I will be supporting the oppressed people and be against oppressors,” he said in an online video.
The reporter called the shoe-throwing gesture — a traditional insult in Arab culture — a “farewell kiss” to a “dog” who launched the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The video shows Al-Zaidi shouting “You killed the Iraqis!” as security staff pinned him to the ground. Bush ducked as the shoes sailed past his head.
“I don’t have any issue with America or Americans,” al-Zaidi told CNN on Wednesday.
“My only issue is with the former president George W. Bush. He occupied my country and he killed my people.