Pro-Palestine protester invades pitch at Cricket World Cup final

Wen Johnson faces charges including criminal trespassing after disrupting match between Australia and India

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An Australian wearing a pro-Palestine T-shirt and a mask bearing the Palestinian flag invaded the pitch during Sunday's Cricket World Cup final and tried to embrace Indian batsman Virat Kohli.

Wen Johnson, whose T-shirt had the slogan “stop bombing Palestine”, entered the field as India was batting against Australia in front of 130,000 supporters at the Narendra Modi Stadium, in Ahmedabad.

About 6,000 police were stationed at the stadium for the showpiece match, but Mr Johnson was able to cross a fence and run towards Kohli.

The incident appeared to startle the cricketer, with security personnel soon removing Mr Johnson from the pitch.

He was detained by police and now faces charges of criminal trespassing and voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servants from their duty.

Mr Johnson, 24, told Australian media he supported Palestine. The Gaza Strip is being bombed by Israel following an attack by Hamas on October 7 that killed about 1,200 people. More than 13,000 have been killed in retaliatory strikes on the Palestinian enclave.

The Australian is reportedly a TikTok prankster with a history of disrupting sporting events.

He breached security at the Fifa Women's World Cup final in Sydney in August, invading the pitch while wearing a “free Ukraine” T-shirt. The incident caused a 20-minute delay to the match.

Updated: November 20, 2023, 10:08 AM