• Champions League

Arrests made after UEFA dinner protest

ESPN staff
May 26, 2013
The protesters unfurled a flag behind UEFA chief Michel Platini © PA Photos

Three people have been arrested after infiltrating a pre-Champions League final UEFA dinner to protest against Israel's hosting of the European Under-21 Championship, police have said.

The protesters gained access to the event, held on Friday at Billingsgate in central London, shouting slogans and standing behind UEFA president Michel Platini with a flag.

A statement said: "Three people caused a minor disturbance at the UEFA Congress dinner. They were quickly apprehended and arrested by the police.''

An attendee at the dinner, where David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson were among the guests, told the Press Association: "It was between courses, and suddenly this man and woman got on the stage and started shouting things against Israel.

"Another had a flag and was standing behind Platini. It seemed to go on for a few minutes before they were removed.

"It was a bit of a security lapse, to say the least. They were smartly dressed in suits, but no one could understand how they had got in because we all had to show our invitations.''

Protesters from the Red Card to Israeli Racism group had also demonstrated outside the UEFA Congress at the Grosvenor House hotel in London on Friday.

And in January, pro-Palestinian activists occupied the UEFA headquarters near Geneva in Switzerland.

Police said a man and a woman, both aged 24, had been arrested. "At approximately 10pm, a 24-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman evaded private security at the UEFA Champions League celebrity party and managed to reach the stage and launch a protest," a statement said.

"They were quickly ejected from the event by the private security, and the event organisers made a complaint to the City of London police.

"Shortly after, the man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and the woman on suspicion of aggravated trespass and assault."

Police said both those arrested were being detained in custody, and officers were investigating what had happened.

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