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Protester hurls shoes at Paul Bremer, former US envoy to Iraq

Hussein Malla / AP file

U.S. Administrator L. Paul Bremer is shown at a ceremony transfering national sovereignty to Iraq in Baghdad on June 28, 2004.

Former U.S. diplomat Paul Bremer had shoes thrown at him during a meeting held Wednesday in the British Parliament in an attack reminiscent of the 2008 shoe hurling directed at President George W. Bush.

A video that captured the moment was posted on YouTube.

The incident occurred as Bremer, a former U.S. envoy to Iraq, was giving a speech at a meeting organized by the Henry Jackson Society, a British-based think tank named for the late U.S. senator from Washington state. Bush, who appointed Bremer to his post in Iraq was the target of a similar attack when he visited Baghdad in 2008. Shoe hurling is a traditional Arab gesture of disrespect.

In the latter incident, a man stood up, seemingly to address Bremer, and announced he was delivering two messages, one from Saddam Hussein and one from the Iraqi people.


"This is the first message," the man said, as he threw the first shoe. Bremer can be seen ducking, but he then started laughing, in seeming disbelief.

Seconds later, a second shoe flew across the room, and Bremer stood and tried to catch it -- but failed. "You should improve your aim if you want to do something like that," he said.


As the attacker was removed from the room, he could be heard shouting invectives addressed to Bremer, who he said is responsible for destroying his country.

"If he had done that while Saddam Hussein was alive, he would be a dead man by now," Bremer then said, addressing the crowd -- his composure regained.

From May 2003 to June 2004, Bremer served as the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq, which was established following the 2003 invasion.