Refugee protest interrupts Australian Open men's final

Refugee protest halts Australian Open men’s final as two screaming spectators interrupt rally between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev with both hauled out of Rod Laver Arena by security

  • Novak Djokovic comfortably beat Daniil Medvedev to win the Australian Open
  • Play however was halted during the second set due to a refugee protest
  • One supporter wore a shirt with ‘end systematic racism’ written across the back
  • The protesting supporters were also heard shouting ‘free the refugees’ 
  • Both of the supporters were escorted out of the arena by security 
  • Later on Medvedev told another supporter to ‘shut up and show respect’ 

Play was stopped during the Australian Open final between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev as a result of a refugee protest.  

The protest took place in the stands of the Rod Laver Arena in the second set of Sunday’s men final.

Midway through the set as a rally began to unfold, two spectators began yelling loudly, forcing the umpire to call a let and have the point replayed. 

Play was halted during the second-set of the Australian Open men’s final due to a protest

One of the supporters had a shirt which had the message ‘end systematic racism’ written on

Both of the protestors were heard shouting ‘free the refugees’ and were escorted by security

A video published on social media shows the moment the two were ejected out of the arena

At the point, Medvedev was up 30-15 on serve, and his rival Djokovic was annoyed at the interruption though the demonstrators were then ejected.

As Djokovic went ahead 40-30, he asked the umpire to tell the crowd to remain quiet while the point was being played, putting his finger to his lips.

The official passed the message on and Djokovic took the game and ended up clinching the second set to go 2-0 ahead.   

One of the two protestors was wearing a top with the message ‘end systematic racism’ written on the back and ‘free them all’ across the front. 

The spectators were also reportedly heard yelling ‘free the refugees’ as they were escorted from the arena by security.

A video released on social media shows the moment they were ejected, with one protestor showing the message on their shirt to those in attendance while the other is seen shouting.   

Later on during the match in a separate incident, Medvedev was unhappy with further crowd noise during the final, telling a supporter to ‘show some respect and shut up’. 

Both Federer and his beaten opponent Daniil Medvedev were unhappy with crowd noise

Djokovic ended up clinching his ninth Australian Open win and his 18th Grand Slam title, which would put him two behind Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.  

It is not the first time there has been a protest during the men’s final of the Australian Open.

In 2015, the final between Andy Murray and  Djokovic was disrupted by a group of protesters against the Manus Island immigration detention facility 

Wearing t-shirts with slogans such as ‘Shut down Manus’ and ‘Australia open for refugees’, the political activists made their presence known during the second set and descended on to the Rod Laver Arena’s centre court.  

The Manus Island immigration detention facility, also known as the Manus Island Regional processing centre is an offshore asylum processing institution located on Manus Island, Papa New Guinea, which operates on behalf of the Australian Government.  

Novak Djokovic clinched his ninth Australian Open win and 18th Grand Slam title on Sunday

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