Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 18:09 pm (KSA) 15:09 pm (GMT)

Cambridge protester throws shoe at China's Wen

The Chinese PM was delivering a speech on Chinese history and its role in the globalised world
The Chinese PM was delivering a speech on Chinese history and its role in the globalised world

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, in a dramatic end to a five-nation tour of Europe.

The Western-looking youth shouted "This is a scandal" as he interrupted the Chinese leader towards the end of a speech on Chinese history and its role in the globalized world.

The shoe missed Wen and landed on the stage about a meter (yard) away from him during an address at Cambridge University in eastern England, witnesses 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?"

 There was no serious threat to anybody at any time. We can't confirm or deny the identity of the individual concerned until we've heard from the police about it, 
Cambridge University spokesman

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-U.K. 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.

"He didn't resist at all. We ushered him out and he went peacefully," said one of the constables, or university police, who took the young man out of the hall.

A University of Cambridge spokesman told AFP: "The incident was extremely regrettable, but didn't spoil the event. Our university is a place for debate, discussion and considered argument, not for shoe throwing."

On the identity of the protester, he added: "This was an isolated individual."

"There was no serious threat to anybody at any time. We can't confirm or deny the identity of the individual concerned until we've heard from the police about it," he said.

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.

Both shoes missed after Bush ducked

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.

From Bosnia to Washington, throwing shoes has become a worlwide symbol of opposition and protest after video footage of the shoe-throwing in Baghdad was repeatedly shown around the world.

Journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi, who worked for independent al-Baghdadiya television, shouted "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog" as he hurled both shoes at then-president Bush before being tackeled by security gaurds.

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