We wrote here and here about the Davis Cup tennis match between Sweden and Israel, which Swedish authorities scheduled to take place in heavily-Muslim Malmo, and then closed to the public on the ground that they couldn’t guarantee security. We quoted an ESPN columnist, Peter Bodo, who wrote:
There can be only one reason for how this has come about: The town fathers in Malmo, and perhaps the leadership of the Swedish federation itself, desperately wants this tie to be controversial — wants to see it played behind closed doors, in order to somehow suggest that Israel is a pariah nation — thereby advancing anti-Israel sentiment.
Malmo is bracing for an influx of demonstrators against Israel, which also plays right into the hands of those who wish to embarrass Israel. What could be better, in terms of advancing the agenda, than having streets full of demonstrators and a visiting nation that can’t be allowed to show its flag? This is a crude and astonishing example of using the Davis Cup as a political football.
The event is playing out just as Swedish officials planned it. The Associated Press reports:
Dozens of anti-Israel activists clashed with police Saturday as they tried to storm a closed arena where Sweden and Israel were playing a Davis Cup tennis match.
The activists hurled rocks and firecrackers at police vans as they tried to break through the barricades set up to keep protesters from the arena. Hundreds of riot police pushed them back using truncheons. …
The clashes erupted after about 7,000 people gathered at a square in downtown Malmo to hear speeches condemning Israel’s offensive in Gaza and urging support for Palestinians. …
Sweden’s Left Party leader Lars Ohly told the crowd that the European Union and the rest of the world should “boycott the racist regime in Israel.”
The protesters then marched toward the Baltic Hall arena, where some of them attacked the police line with eggs, rocks and firecrackers.
The doubles match between Sweden and Israel started as planned before about 300 special guests invited by the two countries’ tennis federations.
Here, the protesters gather in central Malmo:
This is what the scene looked like when the demonstrators tried to storm the arena where the tennis match was taking place. In this photo you can see the masked demonstrators attacking police vehicles; what the police are doing is not entirely clear. Apparently there were a few arrests, however:
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