An exhibition at Wimbledon was disrupted by a pair of activists from Just Stop Oil, who threw orange confetti and puzzle pieces onto Court 18.
The interruption to the match between Grigor Dimitrov and Sho Shimabukuro led to the arrests of these activists, as reported by the All England Club.
Just Stop Oil, an environmentalist organization, urges the government to cease all new projects involving oil, gas, and coal.
The group has previously staged protests at various sports events, including an Ashes Test.
“After an incident on Court 18, two individuals suspected of aggravated trespass and criminal damage have been arrested and subsequently removed from the premises,” announced the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) in a statement.
A man and woman invaded the court, scattering confetti and puzzle pieces sourced from a ‘Centre Court View’ Wimbledon jigsaw box across the grassy expanse.
Just Stop Oil clarified in a statement that their supporters threw “environmentally friendly orange confetti glitter and jigsaw pieces,” causing a brief delay in play as marshals cleaned up the court.
A Just Stop Oil activist was escorted off Court 18 by police officers
Despite the presence of an empty Wimbledon jigsaw box on the court as part of the protest, play was temporarily paused for the clearing of confetti and puzzle pieces.
Wimbledon Becomes Latest Protest Site Despite Heightened Security
Prior to the event, Wimbledon organizers encouraged attendees to “be considerate,” in light of potential climate change protests. They had also ramped up security checks this year.
The intensified security led to longer waiting times for fans on Monday.
Despite these precautions, the pristine greens of Wimbledon briefly adopted an orange hue due to the protest.
Sally Bolton, AELTC’s chief executive, acknowledged earlier this week that they had bolstered security around the premises after noting similar incidents elsewhere.
Previously, in the French Open semi-final between Casper Ruud and Marin Cilic in 2022, an environmental activist tied themselves to a net post.
BBC’s Eyewitness Account: ‘Scattered all across the court’
Katie Smith, a commentator on BBC Radio 5 Live, provided a firsthand account of the incident.
She recounted seeing two individuals jump onto the court from her left, revealing Just Stop Oil T-shirts. They tossed a box, scattering a significant amount of orange-golden confetti and blue material.
The box appeared to be a Centre Court jigsaw puzzle box from Wimbledon, and the blue material turned out to be puzzle pieces scattered across the court.
The cleanup required the assistance of ball boys and girls, with leaf blowers being used. When it began to rain, the court was covered with a translucent tarp, with remnants of gold confetti and puzzle pieces still visible.
The protesters were escorted around the perimeter of the court by the police, drawing the attention of many photo-hungry reporters.
Just Stop Oil: An Overview and Objectives
A Just Stop Oil activist was apprehended by the police at Wimbledon.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Just Stop Oil Wimbledon Protest
Who were the protesters who disrupted the match at Wimbledon 2023?
The protesters were from an environmentalist group known as Just Stop Oil.
What did the Just Stop Oil protesters do at Wimbledon?
The protesters threw orange confetti and jigsaw pieces onto Court 18, temporarily disrupting the play between Grigor Dimitrov and Sho Shimabukuro.
Were the Just Stop Oil protesters arrested at Wimbledon?
Yes, the two protesters were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and criminal damage, and subsequently removed from the Wimbledon grounds.
Has Just Stop Oil targeted other sporting events?
Yes, Just Stop Oil has previously disrupted various sporting events, including an Ashes Test, the Rugby Union Premiership final, and the World Snooker Championship.
What does Just Stop Oil demand from the government?
Just Stop Oil calls for the government to halt all new oil, gas, and coal projects as part of its environmental activism.
How did Wimbledon respond to the possibility of climate change protests?
In anticipation of potential protests, Wimbledon organisers heightened security measures and urged spectators to be considerate.
How did the disruption affect the match at Wimbledon?
The match was briefly paused for the confetti and puzzle pieces to be cleared away. Once the court was cleaned, play resumed.