Man held at Globe theatre protest 29May12 May 29, 2012

The Guardian  -  28 May 2012

One man arrested on suspicion of assault after pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted a performance by Israeli theatre company

 A man was arrested after pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted a performance by the Israeli national theatre company at London’s Globe theatre.

Tel Aviv’s Habima company was performing Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice during the Globe to Globe festival when a small number of demonstrators unfurled banners and displayed a Palestinian flag.

One man was arrested on suspicion of assault on a security guard and remains in police custody, Scotland Yard said.

A spokeswoman from the protest group Boycott Israel Network said 15 demonstrators stood up during the performance with Palestinian flags and a banner. Two more protesters were removed shortly after the interval, she added.

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, co-ordinator with the Boycott Israel Network, said: “This campaign is not an attack on individual artists; we are not censoring the content of their work nor are we concerned about their ethnicity or the language they speak.

“As with South African sport in the apartheid era, this is about refusing to allow culture to be used to whitewash oppression.”

Protester Zoe Mars said: “We tried non-violently to convey the message that culture may not be used to give a civilised gloss to a state that perpetrates human rights abuses.”

The Globe to Globe festival features all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays being performed in 37 languages, from Urdu to Swahili, over six weeks.

A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “I can confirm that officers arrested a man at 9.15pm on suspicion of assault on a security guard outside the Globe Theatre. He remains in custody.”

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