Activists from Just Stop Oil invaded the green at the Ashes in London on Wednesday and threw orange powder across the grass – as England’s Jonny Bairstow was seen picking up one of the protesters and carrying them off the pitch.
Ahead of the second over of the morning session at Lord’s, two Just Stop Oil protesters raced onto the pitch and attempted to throw orange paint across the main playing area.
Jonny Bairstow showed officers how to deal with the saboteurs as he took matters into his own hands, to the delight of fans at the ground.
Meanwhile England captain Ben Stokes stopped the other protester as he guarded the pitch closely, assisted by other players.
Today marks the first day of the Ashes 2nd Test match between England and Australia at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
It follows similar disruptive action to snooker games at the Crucible earlier this year, as Just Stop Oil continues its campaign to try and force the UK government to ban new fossil fuels licences amid the climate crisis.
Video footage showed two activists ran onto the green and attempted to throw orange paint across the main playing area
A young man wearing a Just Stop Oil t-shirt spreads orange paint powder from a small bag
One of the activists is tackled by a member of the security staff
Players intervene to limit the disruption caused by protesters on day one of the test
Jonny Bairstow of England removes a ‘Just Stop Oil’ pitch invader during Day One of the LV= Insurance Ashes 2nd Test match
One of the two activists is tackled to the floor by two event marshals
Three people were arrested at the scene, the Metropolitan Police said.
The two young people who burst onto the pitch were both wearing white t-shirts that identified them as eco-activists from Just Stop Oil.
Marshals and players were quick to respond, and the protesters were swiftly removed from the area.
Jonny Bairstow ran straight up to one of the activists and simply picked them up in his arms as he walked towards security marshals at the edge of the spectator stands.
As he reached them he handed the protester over and returned to the pitch.
Bairstow did then have to briefly leave the field to change his top, after it was covered in orange powder, before returning ahead of Broad starting his spell from the Nursery End.
The second activist was tackled by security staff in bright blue jackets before being escorted off the pitch.
Although the duo did succeed in throwing some orange paint, they were blocked from throwing it onto the batting area by players from both England and Australia.
Police were pictured carrying the protesters out of the grounds shortly afterwards.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police said: ‘We are aware of protesters on the Lord’s Cricket Ground pitch today, Wednesday, 28 June. Police have arrested three people and taken them into custody.’
Speaking on BBC’s Test Match Special, commentator Jonathan Agnew said: ‘Oh no, I don’t like the look of this. We’ve got people running on. This is terrible.
‘Bairstow’s there. Orange smoke and dust. They’re trying to keep them off the pitch, protesters two of them. They’ve managed to keep them off the pitch.
‘Jonny Bairstow is taken one the protesters off, carrying him towards the grandstand. Another one is prostate on the ground.
Police officers escort one of the group’s protesters from the Lord’s grounds
Two people wearing jackets reading ‘Event support’ dive on top of a protester
Police officers picked up the activists and carried them in front of cricket fans
‘They haven’t managed to damage the pitch but they’ve thrown some orange stuff around. We have been expecting this, but their mission to wreck the test has been unsuccessful and they’re being taken away.’
He added: ‘Jonny Bairstow’s dander was up there, he was like a flanker. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen again, let’s hope that’s the one attack on the Ashes this year.’
Ricky Ponting, speaking in the Sky Sports studio, felt for the players after the hotly-anticipated match was halted so early in the battle.
‘As a batter in the build-up you just want to get out there and under way. Delays are not ideal for anyone,’ he said.
‘The batters just need to put something like this out of their mind.’
Groundskeepers were then seen sweeping the green so that play can get back underway.
Earlier this month, the England cricket team’s coach was held up by Just Stop Oil protestors ahead of their Test match against Ireland at Lord’s.
And Bairstow shared a photo on his Instagram story showing demonstrators in the middle of the road captioned: ‘If we’re a bit late it’s not our fault.’
Just Stop Oil have targeted a number of sporting events this year including the snooker World Championships in Sheffield and the rugby Premiership final at Twickenham while Wimbledon, which begins next week, is expected to be another target for them in an attempt to raise awareness for their cause.
The climate change group has been staging daily protests since April 24, disrupting other high profile events including the Chelsea Flower Show, as well as holding daily slow marches on major London roads.
On Monday, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist told LBC that policing the action has cost £5.5 million since April alone, on top of the £7.5 million spent policing the series of protests JSO staged between last October and December.
Earlier this month, protest laws were tightened up to allow officers to intervene earlier where protesters are marching in the road, forcing them onto the pavement where disruption is felt to be more than minor.
A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said: ‘Cricket is an important part of our national heritage, but how can we enjoy England vs Australia when much of the cricketing world is becoming unfit for humans to live in?
‘We can no longer afford to distract ourselves when the sports we play, the food we eat, and the culture we cherish is at risk.’
‘It’s time for cricket lovers and all those who understand the severity of this situation, to get onto the streets and demand action from this illegitimate, criminal government.
‘When our children ask us ‘what did we do’ to avert this crisis, we better have a good answer.’
The Marylebone Cricket Club, who own Lord’s Cricket Ground, released a statement condemning the actions of the protestors.
MCC CEO, Guy Lavender, said: ‘MCC condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s pitch incursion and with the behaviour of the protestors involved.
‘Their actions not only endanger themselves and those who work at the ground, but they have consistently shown complete disregard for the people who pay to attend events, not just here at Lord’s but around the country at other sporting venues.’
This is a breaking news story and is being updated.