AHMEDABAD: A pro-Palestinian protester in India broke through security cordons to invade the pitch at the Cricket World Cup final on Sunday, stopping play briefly while he hugged superstar batsman Virat Kohli.
Wearing a face mask in the colours of the Palestinian flag, and a T-shirt with the slogan “Stop Bombing Palestine”, the unnamed young protester ran onto the pitch in the 132,000-seat mega-stadium in India’s western city of Ahmedabad.
He was escorted off the pitch by security officers, and play swiftly resumed.
Unbeaten hosts India have won 10 games in a row at the tournament as they seek a third World Cup title and were facing Australia in the final.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to attend the match along with Australian deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.
Israel has vowed to destroy the Palestinian Hamas in response to their October 7 attacks, which Israeli officials say killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and saw about 240 people taken hostage.
The army’s relentless air and ground campaign has since killed 12,300 people, more than 5,000 of them children, according to the Hamas government.
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.