Shoes hurled at Zardari in Britain


London : A man threw both his shoes at Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari when he was addressing a public meeting in Birmingham. The shoes landed just short of him.

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The Telegraph Sunday reported that Zardari, who has been criticised for visiting Britain while there were floods in his country, was in the middle of his speech when an elderly man in the crowd hurled both shoes at him.

An unidentified man was later taken away from the Saturday evening meeting by police and security officials.

“Zardari was in the middle of a long campaign speech when a man towards the back of the crowd hurled the shoes at him,” an eyewitness was quoted as saying.

“They landed short of him, and it wasn’t clear what exactly the man was protesting about.”

While talking to the British daily, Zardari had dismissed claims that he should have stayed at home.

He said that the visit had resulted in the floods receiving far more international attention than they might otherwise have done.

Zardari said: “These meetings are planned months in advance, and my coming abroad has drawn more attention to them than I myself would have been able to draw.”

In February last year, a German student hurled a shoe at Chinese premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to Cambridge University in Britain.

Martin Jahnke, a 27-year-old graduate student at the university’s pathology department, was arrested Feb 2, 2009 for throwing a shoe at Wen, who was giving a speech on the global economy to an audience of mostly Chinese students during an official visit to Britain.

The shoe missed Wen by about a metre.

Jahnke was emulating an Iraqi TV reporter, Muntazer al-Zaidi, who threw his shoes at former US President George W. Bush during a visit to Baghdad in December, 2008.