19/06/2024

Wimbledon 2023: Increased security presence will be at All England Club in response to recent UK protests

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Wimbledon 2023: Increased security presence will be at All England Club in response to recent UK protests

The increased measures come on the heels of a rash of protests at sporting events in the United Kingdom

The increased measures come on the heels of a rash of protests at sporting events in the United Kingdom

Wimbledon Getty Logo All England Club
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There will be an increased security presence at Wimbledon to prevent protesters from disrupting the iconic grass court Grand Slam tournament. The extra precautions are in response to the recent protests in other sporting events taking place in England.

"We have plans in place to mitigate the risks working in partnership with specialist agencies and the Metropolitan Police and should an incident occur the appropriate specialist teams will respond," All England Lawn Tennis Club Operations Director Michelle Dite told reporters.

"The safety and security of all our players, colleagues and visitors is paramount."

Three protesters from Just Stop Oil -- the group that threw soup on Vincent van Gogh's "Sunflowers" -- disrupted the Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Lord's Cricket Ground in London this week. 

Last month, the same group briefly held up the Premiership Rugby final between Saracens and Sale at Twickenham Stadium. In April, the protesters interrupted the World Snooker Championship with a man jumping on a table and throwing orange powder -- a powder that was also used at the cricket and rugby protests. Orange is the same color the activist group uses to represent itself. In April, Britain also saw a large group of animal rights protesters forcing their way into the Aintree Racecourse during the annual Grand National horse race.

Last year's protests in tennis included a woman tying herself to the net during the French Open, and a man lighting his arm on fire during the Laver Cup.

Wimbledon is one of the most high-profile sporting events in the world, which means it's a prime target for activists who want to get as many eyes as possible. However, the All England Lawn Tennis Club is preparing accordingly.

Those attending Wimbledon will not be allowed to enter with items that can be used to disrupt the event. This would include glue, chains and that orange powder used in the other protests, according to the 2023 Wimbledon Conditions of Entry.

"Throughout the year, we work closely with the Metropolitan Police and other relevant organizations to ensure that The Championships is as safe and secure as possible and that our plans and measures are commensurate with the threat level and prevailing risks," Dite said. 

"Based on what has happened at other sporting events, and on the advice from our key partners, we have reviewed our security plans which have now been uplifted for The Championships accordingly."

The 136th Wimbledon Championships are set to take place July 3-16.

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