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Shoes hurled at ex Oz PM Howard

Former Australian prime minister John Howard today joined the dubious list of world leaders on whom shoes have been thrown as a pair of shoes was hurled at him by an Iraq war protester during his first television appearance since losing office in 2007.

world Updated: Oct 25, 2010 21:49 IST

Former Australian prime minister John Howard today joined the dubious list of world leaders on whom shoes have been thrown, as a protester shouted "That is for Iraqi dead" live on national TV.

The irate man threw two shoes at Howard while he was answering questions about his decision to send troops to Iraq, while participating in ABC'sQ&A programme.

"It's all right, don't worry. Forget it, forget it. Relax," Howard told the show's host Tony Jones after the protester failed to hit his target.

Howard, 71, has fronted an at times irate audience on ABC TV's Q&A programme, facing questions on the major issues that defined his time as prime minister.

"That is for Iraqi dead," the man reportedly shouted at Howard as he threw two shoes at him.

A female audience member also yelled that "You've got blood on your hands," before walking out of the studio.

The wide ranging interview focussed heavily on the more controversial aspects of Howard's tenure, with questions on the Iraq War, children overboard affair, indigenous affairs and his relationship with his deputy Peter Costello, dominating the programme.

At times the tension in the room was palpable, with an audience member throwing his shoes at Howard while he was defending his decision to send Australian troops to Iraq.

The shoes missed Howard and the man who threw them was removed from the studio, and the former prime minister appeared unruffled by the incident.

He also received a video question from former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, who asked him if Howard stood by his support of the system that saw Hicks imprisoned for over five years without a conviction.

Earlier, then US president George W Bush and Chinese premier Wen Jibao had such dubious experience when shoes were thrown at them. An Iraqi journalist threw shoes at the US president in Baghdad, while the Chinese premier was greeted with shoes on his visit to Cambridge university in London.

First Published: Oct 25, 2010 19:13 IST