In a typically bold move, Saddam ordered the prisons emptied (except for murderers and "foreign spies.") The gesture was meant to mobilize public support for him, but backfired. Mobs of family and friends of prisoners went to the prisons and, often with the cooperation of guards), got all the prisoners out. Foreign journalists witnessed prisoners and their families praising American president Bush and yelling "freedom" and "free." It appears that the nightmare Iraq's leaders have long feared, a widely supported uprising as occurred in Eastern Europe in 1989, is coming to Iraq.