Two people bailed as police investigate Snooker Championship protest

A 25-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage following the protest on Monday.

Two people arrested after the World Snooker Championship was disrupted by a Just Stop Oil protest have been released on bail, police said.

A 25-year-old man and 52-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage after play was halted at The Crucible on Monday.

The match between Robert Milkins and Joe Perry was interrupted by a man in a ‘Just Stop Oil’ T-shirt invading the Sheffield arena and tipping orange paint powder on to one of the tables.

A woman was stopped from doing similar on the other table after being tackled by referee Olivier Marteel.

The arrested pair have been bailed until June 15 and an investigation continues, South Yorkshire Police said.

Just Stop Oil confirmed the protesters were Exeter university student Eddie Whittingham and Margaret Reid, a former museum professional from Kendal, Cumbria.

The activist group said it is “demanding that the Government stop all new UK fossil fuel projects and are calling on UK sporting institutions to join in civil resistance against the Government’s genocidal policies”.

Whittingham was quoted in Just Stop Oil’s press release, saying: “I don’t want to be disrupting something that people enjoy, but we’re facing an extremely grave situation.

“Europe is experiencing its worst drought in 500 years. We’re seeing mass crop failure right now. We’re facing mass starvation, billions of refugees and civilisational collapse if this continues.

“We can’t continue to sit back and act as if everything’s OK.”

Reid said: “I did not take this action lightly, but I cannot remain a passive spectator while our Government knowingly pushes us down a path to destruction.

“They are giving handouts of £236 million per week of our money to the most profitable industry on earth during a cost-of-living crisis. I can no longer justify watching from the sidelines.

“I am angry and heartbroken that I have found myself in a position where taking this sort of disruptive action is the only way to get heard.”

The protesters were held backstage by tournament security officials until police arrived.

Play was suspended for the evening on the affected table, which was due to be re-covered overnight, while the match between Mark Allen and Fan Zhengyi resumed after a delay of about 45 minutes.

It was the second time in three days a major domestic sporting event was disrupted, with 118 people arrested at Aintree on Saturday as they tried to scale a perimeter fence at the Grand National.

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