Wednesday December 06, 2023

Ind vs Aus: Pitch invader interrupts World Cup final to protest against Israeli atrocities in Gaza

Intruder identified himself as Australian citizen named "Wayne Johnson", says he was protesting against war in Palestine

By Web Desk
November 19, 2023
A pitch invader interrupts the ICC Cricket World Cup final match between India and Australia at Ahmedabads Narendra Modi stadium on November 19, 2023. — X/@iihtishamm
A pitch invader interrupts the ICC Cricket World Cup final match between India and Australia at Ahmedabad's Narendra Modi stadium on November 19, 2023. — X/@iihtishamm

The highly-anticipated World Cup 2023 final between the hosts India and Australia was interrupted after a pitch invader entered the ground to protest against the ongoing Israeli genocide of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

As many as 12,300 Palestinians — of which 5,000 are children — have been martyred due to the ongoing Israeli offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip whose 2.2 million residents have been facing a worsening situation in the beleaguered territory due to Israeli blockade and bombardment.

Several humanitarian organisations including the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and others have called for a much-needed ceasefire in the Gaza Strip due to the worsening human crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Wearing a shirt that read "stop bombing Palestine" on the front and "Free Palestine" on the back, along with a face mask made out of the Palestinian flag, the pitch invader tried to hug India's star batter Virat Kohli.

The intruder was then escorted out of the ground by the security personnel.

Meanwhile, responding to Indian media's questions, the pitch invader revealed that he is an Australian citizen and wanted to "meet up" Kohli.

Responding to a question as to why he wore a pro-Palestine shirt, the intruder identified himself as "Wayne Johnson" saying he was protesting against the ongoing war in Palestine.

Johnson was then arrested and taken to Chand Kheda Police station, reported ESPNCricinfo quoting Indian media.

The incident comes as millions of people around the world have been holding protests to express solidarity with the Palestinians.

Earlier in the tournament, Pakistan's wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan had dedicated his century — against Sri Lanka — to the Gazans reeling from indiscriminate Israeli strikes.

“This was for our brothers and sisters in Gaza. Happy to contribute to the win,” Rizwan wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

The gesture, however, didn't sit well with Indian lawyer Vineet Jindal who filed a complaint to the International Cricket Council (ICC) against Rizwan terming his action as going against the "spirit of the sports".

Several other cricketers including Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Iftikhar Ahmed, and leg-spinner Usama Mir have also voiced their support for the Palestinians.