The ‘Free Palestine’ message made it to the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad during the ICC World Cup 2023 final between Australia and India on Sunday.
India took on Australia in the ICC World Cup 2023 final on Sunday in a bid to win their first major ICC global event since 2013.
A pro-Palestinian protester broke through security cordons and invaded the pitch, stopping play briefly while he hugged India star batsman Virat Kohli.
— Owais Bin Maqbool (@the_uwaiss) November 19, 2023
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 protester ran onto the pitch in the 132,000-seat mega-stadium in Ahmedabad.
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The protester ran up to Virat 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. A video later showed him being taken to the Chandkheda police station in Ahmedabad dressed in a yellow T-shirt.
An Indian news agency 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.
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He said that he entered the pitch to meet Kohli, adding that he “supported Palestine”.
On October 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza, which killed 1,200 Israelis, according to officials.
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 has condemned Hamas and airlifted aid to Egypt for Palestinian civilians from the besieged Gaza Strip.