As previously reported, the Australian Open men’s final was disrupted last night by protesters in the front row, waving banners in support of refugees, with the hashtag #ShutDownManus on them.
Play was suspended for four minutes, and Channel 7 chose not to broadcast the event, but photographs of the protesters and their subsequent removal were widely shared on social media.
Today, more details about the protest and its immediate fallout are becoming clear. ABC News report that two women, who jumped from the stands onto the court, have since been interviewed by police.
The pair, aged 28 and 32, have since been released, but will be charged with “disrupting play.” Five other women and a man were also evicted from the match after the incident.
According to News Limited, one of the protesters, Karoline Morwitzer, has since spoken out. “We have created this international media spectacle to expose the torture, abuse, and horrific conditions that are being perpetrated on Manus Island,” she said.
“We will not be silent. We are drawing a line with this issue,” Morwitzer continued. “If we allow this to happen, there is no end to what the government is capable of.”
Debate has raged about the incident since last night, with one camp saying it’s inappropriate to disrupt a major sporting event (true) and the other saying it’s inappropriate to keep innocent people in offshore detention facilities (very true indeed).
We’ll continue following the story as it develops.
Photo: Quinn Rooney via Getty Images