21 July 2023

Four arrested after Just Stop Oil protesters disrupt second day of the Open

21 July 2023

Four people were arrested after Just Stop Oil protesters disrupted the second day of the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

American golfer Billy Horschel intervened to help remove one who invaded the 17th to throw powdered orange paint on the green. A smoke flare was also let off.

The 36-year-old escorted a woman wearing a Just Stop Oil T-shirt away from the putting surface and towards a police officer.

Another woman and two men, wearing similar T-shirts, were also handcuffed and marched off the course by several police officers.

Merseyside Police confirmed four people had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage and public nuisance.

“At around 12.20pm Just Stop Oil supporters ran onto hole 17 at The Open in Royal Liverpool,” read a Just Stop Oil statement given to the PA news agency.

“They set off a smoke flare and threw orange powder paint on the green before being removed by security.”

Greenkeeping staff were dispatched to the hole and removed the powdered paint with leaf-blowers.

Merseyside Police said while it respected the rights of people to protest, disorder would not be tolerated.

“A small amount of powder was discarded onto the playing surface and it was reported that one person had a smoke pyrotechnic,” read a police statement.

“Two males and two females were quickly detained by both stewards and officers and they were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage and public nuisance. They will be taken into police custody to be questioned.

“Merseyside Police respects the right to protest and expression of views but anti-social, criminal behaviour or disorder will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly.

“Police and The R&A management will be looking to ensure the activities of anyone who wants to protest don’t disrupt the event itself and if necessary we will use relevant legislation to deal with those people involved in it.

“Contingency plans are in place to help visitors enjoy these events in safety and with minimal disruption.”

Horschel declined to speak after his round but Merseyside Police has been contacted for comment.

In a statement, the R&A said: “A protester was quickly apprehended on the 17th hole and is one of four people who have been arrested by police.

“Play was not disrupted and we would like to thank the marshals, players and other spectators for their vigilance and understanding as the protesters were removed.”

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