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 bounced off another student’s head but missed the IMF chief before landing beside him on the speaker’s platform. Some students applauded. Mr. Strauss-Kahn moved to the side, 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 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.
Turkey and the International Monetary Fund are engaged in slow-moving talks about a new loan deal that could boost investor confidence, but Turkey has been reluctant to cut spending and implement austerity measures.
The debate has stirred nationalist sentiment among some Turks, who are suspicious of what they view as outside interference.
The shoe protester, 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 Mr. Ozbek worked for the paper but said he was not on duty on Thursday and was not representing the paper at the conference.
“I don’t think throwing a shoe involves violence, it has become a symbol in a culture of protest,” Mr. Aydin said.
Mr. Strauss-Kahn had been answering questions by Turkish economy students and journalists at the time of the protest. He left the conference hall smiling and shrugged 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 IMF was also holding its annual conference in Istanbul. Police have detained more than 20 protesters in total.