Wimbledon Blighted By Queues As Security Beefed-Up To Counter Just Stop Oil

Waits of eight hours reported as airport-style checks in place to combat high-profile climate protests.
People wait in the queue on the first day of Wimbledon.
People wait in the queue on the first day of Wimbledon.
HANNAH MCKAY via Reuters

Beefed-up security to prevent protesters disrupting Wimbledon have led to long, frustrating queues on the opening day of the tennis championships.

Just Stop Oil activists have recently interrupted the Ashes cricket test at Lord’s, with one activist carried off the field by England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

Protesters have also disrupted other sporting events in Britain this year, as well as other events including the Chelsea Flower Show.

Airport-style security was in place in SW19 as staff looked out for chalk dust and powders which have been banned at the prestigious tournament for the first time ever.

Specialist undercover police spotters have also been deployed, The Telegraph reported.

Glue, cable-ties and chains and padlocks are all on the prohibited list as they can be used to disrupt events by protesters attaching themselves to property.

Sky News reported the wait at Wimbledon was as long as eight hours as organisers advised people not to travel to join the queue just before noon.

Wimbledon tweeted: “Our grounds are set to be at capacity today, which means those already in the queue will be waiting several hours for admission. We advise people intending to queue today not to travel to Wimbledon.”

Multiple media outlets in the UK have been reporting that Wimbledon is a prime target for activists with some seeing it as an unrivalled opportunity for publicity.

But the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which hosts the grasscourt grand slam tournament, was confident it had matters under control.

HANNAH MCKAY via Reuters
ADRIAN DENNIS via Getty Images

The club said it had been liaising with organisers of other sporting events, including the English Cricket Board, to refine best practices.

Michelle Dite, Wimbledon operations director, told reporters: “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.

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

But many were expressing frustration on Twitter.


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