Protesters force stoppage at World Snooker Championship

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‘Just Stop Oil’ protesters forced a stoppage in play early in the evening session at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

The duo invaded the arena 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.

A 'Just Stop Oil' protester jumps on the table and throws orange powder during the match between Robert Milkins and Joe Perry
A ‘Just Stop Oil’ protester jumps on the table and throws orange powder during the match between Robert Milkins and Joe Perry (Mike Egerton/PA)

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.”

Just Stop Oil issued a statement which read: “At around 7:20pm, two Just Stop Oil supporters have disrupted the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, interrupting play.

“The pair proceeded to cover the tables in orange powder paint before being removed by security and arrested.

“They are demanding that the Government immediately stop all new UK fossil fuel projects and are calling on UK sporting institutions to step into civil resistance against the Government’s genocidal policies.”

World Snooker Tour officials confirmed that the match between Allen and Zhengyi was set to resume after a delay of approximately 45 minutes.

The affected table was covered and will be re-clothed overnight, with a decision to be made later on whether the match between Milkins and Perry will resume following the conclusion of Allen-Zhengyi.

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