February 24, 2011 / 4:42 PM / 9 years ago

Iraqi shoe-thrower arrested for supporting protesters

Iraqi reporter Muntazer al-Zaidi speaks to media in a news conference upon his release from prison in Baghdad September 15, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former U.S. President George W. Bush was arrested by security forces in Baghdad on Thursday for encouraging people to rally for better services.

A relative of Muntazer al-Zaidi said the reporter was detained in the northern Adhamiya district whilst voicing his support for a mass demonstration expected to be held on Friday.

Iraqis have been protesting for weeks against shortages of food, power and jobs, and against corruption as anti-government demonstration sweep across the Arab world.

“Security forces in Adhamiya district arrested Muntazer Zaidi and his brother Durgam. We don’t know where they took them,” Hashim al-Iraqi, a relative of Zaidi, told Reuters.

A security source confirmed Zaidi had been detained for “inciting people” to take part in protests.

Little-known Shi’ite reporter Zaidi, said to have harboured anger against Bush for the thousands of Iraqis who died after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, shot to fame in 2008 when he called Bush a “dog” in Arabic and threw his shoes at him during a news conference in Iraq.

Throwing shoes at someone is one of the worst insults in the Arab world.

(Reporting by Muhanad Mohammed; Writing by Serena Chaudhry)

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