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Just Stop Oil and Palestine activists prepare to hit Wimbledon | UK | News


Just Stop Oil and Palestine activists prepare to hit Wimbledon | UK | News


This year’s Wimbledon is facing a double threat of disruption from Just Stop Oil campaigners and pro-Palestine activists.

Organisers of the famous tennis tournament, which is seen by a huge global TV audience, are now bringing in extra security to stop both groups causing mayhem in and around Centre Court.

One sponsor of the prestigious two-week sporting showpiece is Barclays, which pro-Palestine campaigners claim “bankrolls” companies which supply arms to Israel.

Last year, three JSO zealots disrupted the ­tournament, with one showering Court 18 with confetti during British star Katie Boulter’s match with Australia’s Daria Saville. Jigsaw pieces were also ­scattered around during games.

The anti-fossil fuel protesters have been upping the scale of their disruption. On Wednesday, Stonehenge was sprayed with orange powder, just a day before the summer solstice gathering.

The activists are also planning to disrupt ­airports during the summer holidays, it emerged yesterday. A source within the organisation said a protest at Stansted last week, in which two private jets were sprayed, was only a “prelude”.

Meanwhile, Palestine Solidarity Campaign is planning a demonstration on the first day of Wimbledon, which begins tomorrow week at the All England Club, in south-west London.

The Campaign Against Arms Trade, together with War on Want, are also believed to be involved. Sources say demonstrators could block entrances, while Just Stop Oil activists could breach courtside security.

One source said: “There is a fear that entrances will be blocked, vehicles used to get players and officials inside will also be blocked amid scenes of general chaos.

“These groups also like to vandalise. We know they would see it as iconic if Centre Court was to be graffitied or something like that. They have caused immense damage to Barclays buildings and have boasted of a demonstration on day
one online.

It is a brazen invitation to cause ­carnage.” A Wimbledon source said: “We’re working very hard to stop any disruption this summer. The fear is Just Stop Oil glueing themselves to a court or the net. This year there is the added ­challenge of pro-Palestine demonstrators.”

The Met Police has been drafted in to ensure any hint of disruption is dealt with quickly. A spokesperson said: “We have been working closely with the All England Club to make sure an appropriate policing operation is in place.

“This will include local and specialist officers working to prevent crime and disorder, and providing a timely response to any emerging incidents. We would encourage anyone who sees anything suspicious or has any concerns to speak to officers or security at the venue.”

A spokesperson for the All England Club said: “The safety and security of our visitors is paramount. Throughout the year we work closely with the Metropolitan Police and other relevant organisations to ensure that The Championships is as safe and secure as possible.”

Barclays has said in the past that trading in the shares of nine defence firms supplying Israel – plus an Israeli defence manufacturer – is “in response to client instruction or demand”. But the firm said that it is not itself an investor.

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