Clearly, this action provided a much-needed cathartic experience after eight long years of the Bush regime.
Protesters hurl shoes on the Presidents last day
by Jamilla El-Shafei, Maine Green Party and event organizer
Hundreds of protesters, many Green, hurled shoes as they marched in Washington, D.C on President Bushís last day in office. On January 19, several thousand ended up gathering at DuPont Circle for a rally and march to the White House for a day of action called “Shoe Bush“. This references the Iraqi journalist Mutadhar Al-Zaidi, who hurled his shoes at President Bush during a press conference in Baghdad.
In the Middle East, throwing a shoe is a great insult. The intent of the “Shoe Bush” action was to draw attention to the fact that Bush and Cheney were leaving office with no criminal investigations, no impeachment proceedings, no accountability whatsoever for their actions at home or abroad. The failure of Congress to enforce the Constitution and hold Bush and Cheney responsible is an insult to all Americans. The protest called for the Obama administration to appoint a special prosecutor against Bush and Cheney.
The day of action began with a rally led by D.C. activist Jay Marx and kicked off with a performance from the Raging Grannies, an ensemble of singing grandmothers. Retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright gave an inspiring speech as she stood on a stage, flanked by combat boots and a banner that read “The end of an error.” Iraq Veteran Adam Kokesh followed with his personal story about the mission in Fallujah and coming home to join Iraq Veterans Against the War. Many other speakers from a wide variety of organizations spoke out, with keynote speaker, David Swanson of After Downing Street and author of “Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union,” made the case for why we should shoe Bush and appoint a special prosecutor.
“We will throw shoes for the widows and orphans in Iraq, we will throw shoes for Mutadhar Al-Zaidi, a hero to billions, we will throw shoes to end torture, to end wars, to end occupations, to end warrantless spying, and to end the very idea that a President does not have to obey law,” said Swanson.
After the rally, protesters took to the street with shoes and combat boots in hand marching down Connecticut Avenue to the gate of the White House. Veterans threw combat boots and others followed with shoes collected from supporters. The White House guards stood ducking and dodging the shoes as secret service looked on but made no arrests.
People headed back to DuPont Circle, and by this time a crowd of several thousand had gathered to listen to music by Chris Wireless of Laughing Sam and to have some fun throwing shoes at the 25 foot high inflatable Bush effigy. As people hit the effigy with the shoes, raucous laughter burst out. In spite of the frigid cold, people stayed late into the evening and continued to throw shoes, even while as the effigy was being deflated. Clearly, this action provided a much-needed cathartic experience after eight long years of the Bush regime.