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Palestinian media demonstrates in solidarity with Iraqi journalist.

Bethlehem / Najib Farrag - Dozens of West Bank journalists held a sit-in late Thursday morning in solidarity with Iraqi journalist Montather Zaidi. After throwing his shoes at US President George Bush during a press conference in Baghdad this week, Zaidi has taken on folk hero status.Palestinian journalists called for his immediate release from jail while placing their own shoes on the cobble stone in front of Bethlehem's Church of Nativity. Under Iraqi and Palestinian flags and behind banners reading "Bush Deserved It," local print journalist Hassan Abdel Jawad addressed the cameras and passersby. He said that Palestinian journalists stand in solidarity with Zaidi who "faced a tyrant" and used his shoes to express the "hatred, anger and indignation of millions of Arabs and millions of other oppressed peoples." Abdel Jawad added that the US occupation of Iraq and American arrogance are direct threats to the freedom of expression. He held both the US and Iraqi governments responsible for the life of Zaidi.Palestinian Legislative Council member Issa Qaraqa' said that the entire Palestinian people stand with Zaidi. "When we stand with Zaidi we stand with the oppressed Iraqi people who are under an occupation that repels everything rational. We stand with those under occupation by the US because we are under Israeli occupation that is backed by the United States." Qaraqa' described the Iraqi journalist as a "hero of freedom because he initially resisted with his pen and then with his shoes." He said, "The expression was a flagrant disregard for the United States-style civil. No one can accuse him of being a terrorist. He expressed his views in the simplest means, but most horrible of all was that he was beaten by US and Iraqi guards in front of the eyes of Bush and Maliki."The PLC member stressed the need to release Zaidi as soon as possible and to escalate the popular campaign in solidarity with him.News photographer Mousa Shar said that the Iraqi journalist was beaten because "America and its allies do not accept freedom of expression." He listed the journalists killed by the US and Israel during the ongoing assaults on both Iraq and Palestine. Shar said that journalists would continue their solidarity actions until Zaidi is released from jail without repercussion.The Palestinian Bar Association and the Arab Liberation Front joined protesters who said what Zaidi did had great symbolic meaning. Journalist Najib Farrag told PNN editors, "I'm able to understand what he did, the act of this journalist. This was an act that has entered history. It was a civil protest, a peaceful protest against Bush."

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Publication:Palestine News Network (West Bank, Palestine)
Date:Dec 18, 2008
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