Tennis: One arrest at tennis protest

One person was arrested outside the ASB Classic tennis tournament today as police dispersed a small but noisy demonstration against Israeli Shahar Peer.

About 10 protesters, from the same groups that targeted Peer in Auckland last year and yesterday because of Israel's policies on Palestine, camped themselves outside the stadium fence.

They had gathered for Peer's second-round match against Slovakian Magdelena Rybarikova.

They could be heard chanting via a loudspeaker "blood, blood on your hands", "freedom for Palestine", "go home, Shahar" and other slogans to the accompaniment of drums.

They were moved on during the second set.

Despite the noise, Peer overwhelmed Slovakian Magdelena Rybarikova 6-1 6-0 to move through to the quarterfinals.

About 40 spectators watched the match on the outside court, one of them holding a small Israeli flag.

Peer, 22, is making her fourth appearance in the Classic and has said she has not been the object of protests anywhere else in the world.

Protest spokesman John Minto, from Global Peace and Justice Auckland, said yesterday that a letter had been sent to Peer calling for her to withdraw from the tournament.

- NZPA

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