Iraqi shoe thrower rearrested ahead of planned protest

Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who was arrested back in 2008 for throwing a shoe at George W. Bush, has been put in jail again, this time for supporting Egypt-style protests in Baghdad:

Muntazer al-Zaidi had been due to hold a press conference in front of the Iraqi capital's Abu Hanifa mosque in the mostly-Sunni district of Adhamiyah when an Iraqi army unit took him away.

"I have orders for you to come with me," an army colonel told Mr Zaidi, who initially refused, demanding to see a written arrest warrant. He was eventually led into an army pick-up truck along with his brother Durgan.

Durgan al-Zaidi told AFP before the news conference that his brother intended to add his voice to calls for a major protest in Baghdad for Friday.

Zaidi claims to have suffered physical abuse including electric shocks and simulated drowning the last time he was in prison. His gesture started off a wave of global shoe-throwing that would eventually claim Zaidi himself as a victim. This form of protest has become so ubiquitous that the Economist has even created a "shoe-throwers index" to measure discontent in the Arab world. Even right-wing Israelis are getting in on it.

As for Zaidi himself, he's been living in Beirut, penning a weekly column for the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. He decided to return to Iraq in the wake of the protests sweeping the Middle East. His supporters should certainly know the best way to protest his arrest.

PIERRE VERDY/AFP/Getty Images

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