Shoe Wars II: Panic in the Commons as protestor hurls pair of size 8s at American diplomat in repeat of Bush attackFormer US envoy to Iraq Paul Bremer was making speech in the CommonsDemonstrator said he had a 'message from Saddam HusseinDiplomat joked 'you should improve your aim
Throwing shoes is Arab gesture of disrespect
23:48 GMT, 9 February 2013
00:44 GMT, 10 February 2013
A former top US diplomat had shoes thrown at him in the Commons last week in a re-run of the attack on George W. Bush when he visited Iraq as President.
There was panic as a protester hurled two shoes at Paul Bremer, ex-US envoy to Iraq, as he made a speech in a meeting room at the Palace of Westminster.
Mr Bremer, who was in charge of rebuilding post-war Iraq, ducked as the man accused the US of ‘f****** up’ and declared he had ‘a message from Saddam Hussein’ to deliver before throwing the first shoe.
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Duck: Mr Bremer (right) was sat alongside Chairman Henry Smith and making a speech when the protestor began hurling shoes at him
Missed: Mr Bremer smiled with relief as the shoe narrowly missed his head. The man had yelled that he had a 'message from Saddam Hussein to deliver'
Fumbled: Mr Bremer tried to catch the second shoe and joked 'you should improve your aim if you want to do something like that'
Regaining his composure, Mr Bremer tried to catch the second shoe as security guards grabbed hold of the man, who said he was brought up in Iraq, and removed him from the room.
Before resuming his speech, Mr Bremer taunted the protester for missing him, saying: ‘You should improve your aim if you want to do something like that.’
He added: ‘If he had done that while Saddam Hussein was alive, he would be a dead man by now.’
In 2008, Mr Bush – who appointed Mr Bremer to his post in Iraq – was the victim of a similar attack when he visited Baghdad and a journalist hurled shoes at him in a traditional Arab gesture of disrespect.
Mr Bremer, 71, was the victim of several assassination attempts while in charge of Iraq after the 2003 invasion.
The Westminster incident came as he addressed a meeting organised by the think-tank, the Henry Jackson Society.
After giving a speech about defending freedom and democracy in the 21st Century, Mr Bremer took questions from the audience. One man rose to speak, identifying himself as someone who grew up in Iraq and came to the UK in 2005 ‘after the USA destroyed my country’.
Video footage of the incident does not show the attacker but he is heard declaring: ‘I have two messages, one from Saddam Hussein and one from the Iraqi people. This is the first message.’
Target: George W. Bush was the victim of a similar attack in 2008 when he visited Baghdad and a journalist threw shoes at him
Amid gasps from the audience, the first shoe then flies towards Mr Bremer who flinches but relaxes when it falls short.
He then tries to catch the second shoe, which also misses him and hits the top of a wood-panelled cupboard.
But his attacker is heard shouting: ‘You f***** up my country, you destroyed the country. F*** you and f*** your democracy.’ Another American is heard telling him to ‘get out of here, dude,’ after which the Iraqi was led away.
He was restrained by police outside the room and then ejected from the Commons.
Back inside, Tory MP for Crawley Henry Smith, who chaired the meeting, is seen apologising to Mr Bremer. In response, Mr Bremer leans over and says: ‘It’s OK – I tell you something, it has happened before.’
To laughter from the audience, he adds: ‘No hard objects! Throw questions.’
Unperturbed by the incident, Mr Bremer was then given a tour of the Commons by Mr Smith.
He has since signed one of the size 8 shoes hurled at him.
In a comment issued through the Henry Jackson Society, Mr Bremer said yesterday: ‘The incident shows how lucky the man is to live in a country like the UK where free speech is respected.
‘Many British and American soldiers gave their lives to bring this same right to Iraqis in Iraq.'
VIDEO: Watch the Commons shoe attack