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Australian Open protesters vow to interrupt more events

2.64K   //    02 Feb 2015, 14:53 IST
Protestors interrupted the Australian Open final yesterday

Melbourne, Feb 2 (IANS): Protesters, who interrupted the Australian Open men's tennis final, Monday said they will strike again at major international events hosted in the country.

Karoline Morwitzer, one of two women arrested for entering the court during the second set of Sunday's match, apologised to players Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray and the crowd but confirmed to Daily Mail Australia she would not hesitate to repeat her antics, reports Xinhua.

"This issue was bigger than the tennis, bigger than Rod Laver Arena and something we felt every person in Australia better be thinking critically and consciously about," Morwitzer said Monday.

"I would say to the players - as well to all the tennis heads - I send an apology to them but reiterate that this issue is bigger than the tennis game."

Morwitzer, 32, and a 28-year-old accomplice invaded the court during a change of ends while six others remained in the stands to unveil a banner protesting the Manus Island immigration detention centre, an offshore asylum processing facility located in Papua New Guinea operated on behalf of the Australian government.

Security personnel protected the two players while guards and police quickly removed the protesters and the "Australia Open for Refugees" banner.

Play was halted for five minutes and, while some in the crowd applauded the banner when it was first unfurled, their tone markedly changed when another of the group made a second attempt to interrupt proceedings.

"We have created this international media spectacle to expose the torture, abuse, and horrific conditions that are being perpetrated on Manus Island," the group told Special Broadcasting Service Sunday.

The policy of detaining asylum seekers offshore to deter further immigration has been criticised by several human rights groups.

Morwitzer avoided questions about the total cost of the protest. Tickets for the final started at $300.

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