Pro-Palestinian pitch invader disrupts World Cup final

Published November 19, 2023
A pitch invader in support of Palestine with India’s Virat Kohli during the World Cup final between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on November 19. —Reuters
A pitch invader in support of Palestine with India’s Virat Kohli during the World Cup final between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on November 19. —Reuters
A pitch invader in support of Palestine with India’s Virat Kohli during the World Cup final between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on November 19.  — Reuters
A pitch invader in support of Palestine with India’s Virat Kohli during the World Cup final between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on November 19. — Reuters
A pitch invader in support of Palestine is stopped by police officer during the World Cup final between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on November 19. —Reuters
A pitch invader in support of Palestine is stopped by police officer during the World Cup final between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad on November 19. —Reuters

A pro-Palestinian protester in India broke through security cordons to invade the pitch at the ICC World Cup final on Sunday, stopping play briefly while he hugged superstar batsman Virat Kohli.

The incident occurred in the 14th over of India’s innings. Wearing a face mask in the colours of the Palestinian flag and a T-shirt with the slogans “Stop Bombing Palestine” and “Free Palestine”, the unnamed young protester ran onto the pitch in the 132,000-seat mega-stadium in India’s western city of Ahmedabad.

The protester ran up to Kohli and slung his arm around the shoulders of the batsman, who then pivoted in an attempt to distance himself from him.

He was escorted off the pitch by security officers, and play swiftly resumed. According to India Today, the young man was “also carrying a rainbow flag” and was later taken to the Chandkheda Police station.

Indian news agency ANI shared a video of the pitch invader being brought to the police station, who said that his name was John and he was from Australia. He said that he entered the pitch to meet Kohli, adding that he “supported Palestine”.

On Oct 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza and killed 1,200 Israelis, according to officials, while also taking more than 200 hostages.

In retaliation, Israel blockaded the strip and launched a brutal assault, which has since killed more than 12,000 Palestinians, including 5,000 children. While the death toll mounts and thousands of other civilians remain at risk in Gaza, Israel has repeatedly refused calls for a ceasefire.

India, which has a long-standing call for an independent Palestinian state, has condemned Hamas and airlifted aid to Egypt for Palestinian civilians from the besieged Gaza Strip.

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