George Galloway, controversial British political figure, was attacked with a rubber stress ball while campaigning in central London.
George Galloway, a controversial MP of the Respect Party and an outspoken anti-war advocate, was the victim of a bizarre stress ball attack on April 22, 2008. He was on the top of an open-top double-decker bus when a hard rubber stress ball flew from a third floor window of a marketing company on Theobalds Road in Holborn and struck Galloway in the head. The blow sent him reeling and caused him to fall against the side of the bus, giving him considerable bruising on his head and leaving him dazed. The bus was stopped immediately and Scotland Yard was summoned. Police arrested and detained the manager of the company, but after having a cup of tea, Galloway generously decided he would not press charges. A friend of the arrested man told reporters that it was "just a spur-of-the-moment act."
George Galloway, dubbed “Gorgeous George” by the press and the “MP for Baghdad Central” by colleagues, has been a colorful personality throughout his political career. In the 1990s, his controversial fight to overturn sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime led to a personal visit with the dictator, where he told Hussein: “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability. And I want you to know we are with you until victory, until Jerusalem.” Galloway later claimed that he was misquoted and had said "so" and not "sir", referring to the Iraqi people and not to the dictator personally.
Galloway joined Gerry Adams in an anti-war march called “Troops Out” before there were any peace negotiations with Sinn Fein. He also developed a fondness for Cuban Cohiba cigars, which were sent by the box from his personal friend, Fidel Castro. Galloway cites Ché Guevara as his hero and publicly mourned the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 2003, he urged Iraqis to resist British and American troops and criticized Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush for their actions in Iraq, which got him expelled from the Labour Party. After that, he helped form the anti-war party Respect – the Unity Coalition, commonly known as the Respect Party, a far-left political organization with a socialist platform. Galloway was elected to the Parliament in 2005, winning the Bethnal Green and Bow seat from incumbent Oona King.
One of Galloway's more cringe-worthy forays into the public eye included a role on the U.K.'s Celebrity Big Brother in 2006. In a particularly undignified episode, Galloway donned a bright red spandex unitard and improvised a robotic dance routine with a partner, transvestite pop singer Pete Burns. In another episode, he pretended to be a cat and licked imaginary cream from Rula Lenska's hand. He came under heavy criticism for participating in the show while in office.
Galloway's designated charity of choice for the show was London-based Interpal, the Palestinian Relief and Development Fund. He raised more than £300,000 for the cause, which is under investigation in Washington, suspected of funneling funds to Hamas, a terrorist organization.
His actions and contacts have led many to believe that Galloway is a terrorist sympathizer, but despite persistent allegations and often raging controversy, he has managed to win elections and retain his place in British government for more than 25 years.
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