Palestinian Journalists Protest for Release of Iraqi Colleague Who Threw Shoes at Bush

Protesters took off their shoes at Manger Square rally for release of journalist who faces two years in jail.

Several dozen Palestinian journalists took off their shoes Thursday in a protest in Bethlehem's Manger Square, to show support for the Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush earlier this week.

The journalist currently remains in Iraqi custody and could face two years in prison for insulting a foreign leader. A spokesman for Iraq's prime minister says Muntadhar al-Zeidi has apologized for throwing the shoes. In the Arab world, throwing shoes at someone is considered to be a sign of deep disrespect.

In Bethelehem, al-Zeidi's Palestinian colleagues waved Palestinian and Iraqi flags. They also held signs in English, reading "Bush deserved it."

The shoe toss triggered an outpouring of support for al-Zeidi.The TV station where he works repeatedly aired pleas Monday for his release, while airing footage of explosions and playing background music that denounced the U.S. in Iraq.

On Tuesday, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip held a rally in support of al-Zeidi, demanding his release and stepping on photos of Bush.