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Student Reporter Whips Shoe at IMF Head

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Dodges Injury During News Conference in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - A student journalist threw a shoe at IMF Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn on Thursday and ran toward the stage shouting "IMF get out!" as the finance official answered questions at a university in Istanbul.

The white sports shoe missed the IMF chief and landed on the platform. Strauss-Kahn moved to the side but was not in any danger of being hit, and a security guard rushed to protect him.

Other guards quickly blocked the man - a student and a journalist with a small left-wing newspaper - from reaching the speakers platform. They pushed him to the floor, covered his mouth with their hands and then dragged him from the hall.

A female protester also tried to unfurl a banner while shouting "IMF get out!" but she was escorted out of the conference hall.

The conference was then cut short and the hall evacuated.

It was the latest copycat shoe protest imitating the shoe attack last year directed at former President George W. Bush by an Iraqi journalist in Baghdad.

The protester in Istanbul, Selcuk Ozbek, had attended the conference at Istanbul's Bilgi University as a guest student from another Turkish university, Anadolu, said Halil Guven, the dean of the Bilgi University.

Ibrahim Aydin, the managing editor of the Birgun newspaper, confirmed that Ozbek worked for his paper but said he was not on duty Thursday and was not representing the paper during the conference.

"I don't think throwing a shoe involves violence, it has become a symbol in culture of protest," Aydin said.

Strauss-Kahn was answering questions by Turkish economy students and journalists at the time of the protest. He walked out of the conference hall smiling and posed to journalists as he got into his car, shrugging off the incident.

"It is important for us to have an open debate. I was glad to meet students and hear their views. This is what the IMF needs to do, even if not everyone agrees with us," he said. "One thing I learned, Turkish students are polite. They waited until the end to complain."

The International Monetary Fund was holding its annual conference in Istanbul. Police have detained more than 20 protesters in total.

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