Peer into round 2

January 20, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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Israeli tennis star, Shahar Peer, has won her first round match of the Australian Open in Melbourne.Seeded 29, Peer defeated Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic  6-7, 6-2, 6-1.

Shahar Peer

The expected protest did not materialise by Australians for Palestine did not materialise.

From a statement published on their web site, AFP is seemingly going along with the authorities and making no attempt to breech the exclusion zone.

Their web site content reads:

“Despite Shahar Peer having been listed as playing in the first round in the evening before yesterday’s line-up, by the morning, her scheduled match had disappeared from the program.  That did not deter us from protesting in the tightly-controlled tennis environs courtesy of Tennis Australia security and the police.  On arrival, we were met with a barrage of cameras from the various TV networks and newspapers, and our public advocate Michael Shaik gave a lucid explanation as to why we were protesting Ms Peer’s decision to play.   This is in spite of  her already having been made aware of the contradiction in her being free to play in Israel while the indigenous Palestinians  are prevented from enjoying such privileges.  The protest was quiet and dignified, but our message was very clear and it was met in equal measure with outright disapproval, indifference and enthusiasm.   No doubt Ms Peer was aware of the protest since many Israeli newspapers had published our poster in the days leading up to the event. Today’s Herald Sun reported our protest, but sandwiched it in the middle of a report on Croatian rabble-rousers. Andra Jackson from The Age gave a fairer explanation of our protest and both Channels 9 and 10 included shots of the protest in their news broadcasts.  The Australian Jewish News reported the protest and included the photo of AFP Manager, Moammar  Mashni holding a placard.   While Tennis Australia will enforce their exclusion zone (a special provision under the Melbourne Major Events Act)  and refuse any protest within those parameters, we will continue with our protests in other locations for as long as Ms Peer remains in the tournament.”

For Shahar Peer, the 2010 Australian Open is off to a peaceful start. She told media she was not distracted by the protests and was aware of the heavy security in place saying “I really feel safe”.

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