Nearly twelve years since an Iraqui journalist threw a shoe at then US President George W Bush during a press conference, the man behind the incident has been going viral on social media as a symbol of hope and solidarity for the 'Black Lives Matter' protests.
Muntadhar Al-Zaidi spent nine months in jail after the "shoe-gate" incident that took place in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's palace. Since then he has been a symbol of resistance against the American military occupation of Iraq.
And now, as the Black Lives Matter protests spread across the world following the murder of 46-year-old George Floyd, Al-Zaidi is receiving much love on social media with his posts in solidarity and support of the protesters. He even participated in the protests himself along with others in Iraq.
Today was a stand of solidarity with George Floyd and protests against his killing https://t.co/fbuNIHCvT2 pic.twitter.com/u8oAp9aHyl— منتظر الزيدي (@muntazer_zaidi) June 2, 2020
I am here brother stand with you against racism of police https://t.co/fdvbEGCyxq— منتظر الزيدي (@muntazer_zaidi) June 2, 2020
He even dedicated a watch to George Floyd on gave out a message of solidarity for his family. "Thank you dear. I am in solidarity with you against the brutal capitalism and racism of the police. I dedicate my freedom watch for George Floyd," he wrote.
Thank you dear I am in solidarity with you against the brutal capitalism and racism of the policeI dedicate my freedom watch for GeorgeFlyod #America #AmericaConTrump #TrumpOut2020 https://t.co/6RSoZ9c7A3 pic.twitter.com/9wAoCQiHBT— منتظر الزيدي (@muntazer_zaidi) June 3, 2020
The post was made on June 3, a day after police violently removed protesters from outside the White House using tear gas so that US President Donald Trump could go to the nearby church for a photo op.
While many thanked Al-Zaidi for his support, some of his older fans couldn't help but bring up the famous video.
Hope you know you’re an actual icon and we love you . This video is my daily dose of serotonin 😍😍😍😍 pic.twitter.com/XfcGdO1GEj— Rania (@StreaamLightsup) June 3, 2020
Since the shoeing incident, Zaidi has become a known face in Iraq. In 2019, he ran for parliament as a member of the movement of firebrand Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose militia waged a violent campaign against the U.S. military during its occupation of Iraq, but who has lately redefined himself as an opponent of militant sectarianism.
(With inputs from Reuters)