The Crucible Theatre’s famous green baize turned orange at the world snooker championship on Monday when a protester interrupted a match by jumping on the table and releasing a packet of powder, causing play to be suspended.
Two “Just Stop Oil” protesters invaded snooker’s most famous arena shortly after play began in two matches in the evening session.
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On one table, where Robert Milkins and Joe Perry were playing, a man leapt onto the table — scattering the balls — and threw orange dye over one half of the baize as boos and jeers came from the audience.
On the other table, featuring a match between Mark Allen and Fan Zhengyi, a woman was stopped from getting onto the table by the quick-thinking response of referee Olivier Marteel.
Both protesters were taken away by security, but the incident forced a stoppage in play while the mess was cleaned up.
Play resumed in the Allen-Zhengyi match about 45 minutes later but the affected table in the Milkins-Perry match was covered and will be re-clothed overnight. A decision was to be made later Monday regarding whether the Milkins-Perry match would resume following the conclusion of Allen-Zhengyi.
Former world champion Stephen Hendry, who was on commentary duties for the BBC, said it was a “scary” incident and feared the cloth on the table might not be able to be used again.
“For me,” Hendry said, “straight away as a snooker player I am thinking, ‘Is the table recoverable?’ We don’t know what that is on the table.”
Just Stop Oil issued a statement saying the protesters were removed from the Crucible and arrested.
“They are demanding that the government immediately stop all new U.K. fossil fuel projects and are calling on U.K. sporting institutions to step into civil resistance against the government’s genocidal policies,” the group said.