8 Jan 2009

Protesters demand boycott of tennis match

9:56 pm on 8 January 2009

Spectators at the ASB Classic Tournament in Auckland were confronted on Thursday by protestors demanding they boycott a match played by the Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer.

Sympathy was scarce among the spectators, with some of them heckling back. Security was increased, with police at the venue.

The Palestian supporters ended their demonstration just after Peer's quarter-final match started on centre court. About 18 people had placards calling for the end of what they call "Israeli apartheid".

Peer said on Wednesday that her presence in Auckland has nothing to do with the fighting in Gaza. She said she hopes the fighting will be over as soon as possible, not least because her brother, an army reservist, has been called up for service.

The top seed at the ASB Classic, Elena Dementieva, knocked out Peer in straight sets in the match.