The ICC World Cup final was interrupted briefly on Sunday as a pro-Palestinian protester in India climbed over security barriers to enter the pitch and give famous batsman Virat Kohli a hug.
The incident occurred during India’s innings’ fourteenth over. The unknown young demonstrator went onto the pitch of the 132,000-seat mega-stadium in Ahmedabad, western India while wearing a face mask in the colors of the Palestinian flag and a T-shirt with the text “Stop Bombing Palestine” and “Free Palestine.”
The protester went toward Kohli and put his arm around the batsman’s shoulders, forcing him to pivot away to move away from him.
Play quickly resumed as police officers led him off the field. The young man was later brought to the Chandkheda Police station while “also carrying a rainbow flag,” according to India Today.
The pitch invader, identified as John and originally from Australia, was shown in a video released by the Indian news agency ANI being taken to the police station. He added that he “supported Palestine” and claimed to have entered the ground to meet Kohli.
According to sources, on October 7, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza, killing 1,200 Israelis and capturing over 200 more.
Israel blockaded the strip and carried out a vicious attack in retribution, killing almost 12,000 Palestinians—5,000 of them children—in the process. Israel has consistently rejected pleas for a ceasefire in Gaza, even though the death toll is still rising and thousands of people are still in danger there.
India, which has long advocated for the creation of an independent Palestinian state, has denounced Hamas and flown aid for Palestinian civilians in the plagued Gaza Strip to Egypt.