Feb 3, 2009

World - After Bush, Wen Jiabao is target of shoe protest

London, Feb 2 (PTI) In a throwback to the George Bush shoe-throwing incident, a protestor today threw a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao interrupting his speech at the Cambridge University here. The shoe thrown by a "young Western-looking man" missed by a few feet the Chinese leader, whose visit to London has been marred by pro-Tibetan protests, the Times online reported.
Wen was nearing the end of his address on global economy when the man stood up, blew a whistle and shouted: "How can the university prostitute itself with this dictator? How can you listen to these lies?" He then took off his shoe and threw it at the stage missing Wen by a few feet. "Stand up and protest, you're not challenging him," he shouted in "European accent" before being bundled out of the room, the Times said.
The act of shoe-throwing as a mark of protest was first witnessed in Iraq in December last year when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi threw his shoes at former US President George W Bush. The journalist, whose attempts to hit Bush failed, was however arrested by security forces.
Following the incident, Wen said: "This despicable behaviour cannot stand in the way of friendship between China and the UK". He was then ushered away by security personnel.
Wen's visit has been marred by anti-China protests in London, which saw around 50 pro-Tibetan demonstrators gather outside 10 Downing Street today. Five protestors were arrested after they held demonstrations yesterday.

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