Critics of outgoing President George W. Bush turned a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House into a rowdy street theater on the eve of his handover of power to Barack Obama.
An activist coalition calling itself ShoeBush.org piled a motley collection of dozens of old shoes, including tan combat boots said to have been worn by U.S. troops in Iraq and children’s bright yellow flip-flops, at what amounted to Bush’s doorstep.
“We wanted to shoo and boo Bush on his last day in office,” said Ann Wilcox of Washington D.C., who marched with the group of about 500 peace activists.
The footwear was tossed between Inaugural parade reviewing stands under watchful eyes of uniformed Secret Service officers. It was a reminder of an Iraqi journalist, Muntazer al-Zaidi, who hurled his two shoes at Bush during a news conference marking the outgoing president’s farewell visit to Iraq.
A hooded, black-clad man posing as the Grim Reaper stood nearby with a sign saying “Death thanks Bush and Cheney.” The reaper, in an interview, added: “They’ve been very good for business.” A giant Bush bobblehead in prisoner’s stripes paraded nearby, his hands in chains as if being led away under arrest.