Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Turkish Basketball Fans Stop Israeli Team from Playing

The Guardian, ANKARA, January 6, 2009 (Reuters) - Turkish basketball fans chanting "Israel, killers" stopped the start of a game against an Israeli team on Tuesday by throwing objects onto the court in protest against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Some players were hit by the objects hurled by the crowd of several hundred, SkyTurk TV reported.

The players from Turkey's Telekom Ankara and Israel's Bnei Hasharon teams escaped hurriedly to their dressing rooms while police battled to keep the protesters off the court.
Bnei Hasharon captain Meir Tapiro said the players were very frightened. "They threw shoes, cigarette lighters, water bottles. We were holed up in the dressing room with police protection," Tapiro told Israeli Channel 5 television.

The Israelis were angered when the game was awarded as a technical victory to Telekom Ankara because Bnei Hasharon refused to start the contest an hour-and-a-half later, after police said they had cleared the arena.

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