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Protester throws shoe at China's Wen

February 3, 2009

By Adrian Croft
Monday February 2, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, England (Reuters) - A protester threw a shoe at Chinese
Premier Wen Jiabao and called him a dictator as he delivered a speech on
the global economy in England on Monday.

The shoe missed Wen and landed on the stage about a metre away from him
during an address at Cambridge University in eastern England, a Reuters
witness said.

The protest mirrored the hurling of shoes by an Iraqi journalist at U.S.
President George W. Bush on his farewell visit to Iraq in December.

The protester, who was held by university security guards, blew a
whistle and then shouted: "How can the university prostitute itself with
this dictator?"

Wen hesitated for a few moments in his speech before continuing
speaking. University officials bundled the protester out of the building
and security guards fanned out across the stage.

After the protest, Wen continued his speech, saying: "We come in peace.
This is not going to obstruct China-UK friendships. History shows
harmony will not be obstructed by any force, so would you let me continue."

A police spokeswoman said officers arrested the man for a public order
offence. She gave no more details about him.

About 80 people, both supporters and critics of China, had earlier
gathered outside the venue. There was a large police presence in the
city and security guards within the building.

Groups of anti-China protesters, including pro-Tibet campaigners, have
followed the Chinese premier during his visit to Britain.

On Sunday, police arrested five pro-Tibet demonstrators after they broke
through police lines as Wen arrived at the Chinese embassy in London.

Video footage of the shoe-throwing in Baghdad was repeatedly shown
around the world. Journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi, who works for
independent al-Baghdadiya television, shouted: "This is a goodbye kiss
from the Iraqi people, dog."
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