A Just Stop Oil protester tossed orange paint over a snooker table during a World Championship game, causing the match to be cancelled this evening.
Two eco activists invaded the arena at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield shortly after play began, with a man interrupting the match between Robert Milkins and Joe Perry by jumping on the table where he released a packet of orange dye.
A female protester was stopped from attacking the match between Mark Allen and Fan Zhengyi on table two by the quick-thinking response of referee Olivier Marteel.
Play was immediately suspended at the event as cleaners brought vacuum cleaners into the arena and master of ceremonies Rob Walker was among those helping to sweep up the mess.
Snooker fans jeered and booed the male activist as he interrupted play. One irritated fan shouted: ‘Get him off!’
South Yorkshire Police said a 30-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and are in police custody.
Play has been suspended at the Crucible after a protester jumped on the table and covered it in orange powder.@WeAreWST | #WorldSnookerChampionship pic.twitter.com/epqAOsDGD1
— Eurosport (@eurosport) April 17, 2023
The force said in a statement: ‘Two people were detained after protesters gained entry to The Crucible earlier this evening.
‘A 30-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage. Both are in police custody.’
The affected table will be re-covered overnight.
It is the second time in three days that a major international sporting event has been disrupted, after 118 people were arrested at Aintree on Saturday as they tried to scale the perimeter fence at the Grand National.
Former world champion Stephen Hendry, on commentary duties for the BBC, said: ‘I have never seen that before at a snooker event. It’s a first.
‘It is scary. Wow! You just hope the cloth can be recovered from that. It caught us all by surprise and then this happens.
‘For me, straight away as a snooker player I am thinking: ‘Is the table recoverable?’ We don’t know what that is on the table.’
The two protesters were Margaret Reid, 52, a former museum professional from Kendal, Cumbria, and Edred Whittingham, a 25-year-old Politics, Philosophy and Economics student at Exeter University.
Read More: Eco-zealots cancel the snooker: World Championship game is postponed after Just Stop Oil protester jumped on table during match