The highly anticipated World Cup 2023 final between Australia and India was temporarily halted when a pitch invader entered the ground, seizing the moment to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians enduring relentless bombings by Israeli forces since October 7.
The ongoing Israeli offensive in the besieged Gaza Strip has resulted in a tragic toll, with at least 12,300 Palestinians, including 5,000 children, losing their lives. The 2.2 million residents of Gaza find themselves trapped in the midst of a profound human tragedy exacerbated by an Israeli blockade and indiscriminate bombardment.
International entities such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO), and various humanitarian organizations have consistently called for a crucial ceasefire in Gaza due to the escalating human crisis in the beleaguered territory.
The pitch invader, adorned in a shirt proclaiming “stop bombing Palestine” on the front and “Free Palestine” on the back, and sporting a face mask made from the Palestinian flag, made a symbolic gesture toward India’s star batter Virat Kohli. The intruder’s attempt to embrace Kohli was swiftly curtailed as security personnel escorted them out of the stadium.
In response to queries from the Indian media, the pitch invader, identifying as an Australian citizen, explained that he wished to “meet up” with Kohli. When asked about his pro-Palestine attire, the intruder, self-identified as “John,” clarified that he was staging a protest against the ongoing conflict in Palestine.