Street Theatre in Protest of Davis Cup
The demonstrations against the disputed Davis Cup Tennis match between Sweden and Israel started friday morning. Some time after seven around 20 protesters had already gathered outside the stadium, in Malmö, in the south of Sweden.
The demonstrators were part of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), an anti-violence protest group against Israeli politics, active world wide.
“If there are enough of us, we are going to try to block off the entrance and get the match postponed. But we are not going to use violence,” said demonstrator Oscar Schön to Swedish news agency TT.
On a parking lot next to the arena the demonstrators performed a protest in the form of street theatre - a mock tennis game with plastic rackets.
“We’ll see what happens during the day. At the moment we are just playing tennis, drinking coffee and having a great time,” a demonstrator told Swedish newspaper Sydsvenskan.
More militant groups have also urged their members to protest in the area although no permit has been issued by authorities for demonstrations until Saturday.
Nearby, the police prepared for disturbances and a police helicopter circled the area during the day. Many reporters and photographers are also at the scene, according to TT.
The police made it clear to demonstrators that any attempts to block off the entrance to the stadium wouldn’t be tolerated.
When the players arrived around lunchtime, the police still outnumbered the protesters and the mood was reported to be good. Around 1 PM, a few demonstrators sat down on the street outside the arena, causing the police to redirect traffic. But after about 20 minutes the protesters moved and traffic was let through again, according to TT.
Sometime after 3 PM, several demonstrators managed to break through to the outer fence which surrounds the stadium. They shouted slogans like ”Long live Palestine”, ”Crush Zionism” and ”Boycott Israel”, according to reports from TT.
The police are expecting more disturbances during Saturday’s demonstrations.