Sri Lankan fans escorted by police from Eden Park
by Amit Author
Published - Jan 10, 2016 11:15 am | Updated - Jan 10, 2016 11:15 am
Spectators trying to enjoy the 2nd T20I match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Eden Park were escorted from the ground by police and security guards. A group of Sri Lankan fans had their drums and flags taken off them in the crowd – both of which they’ve used in Eden Park before, and entered the park with, no problem. A fan said everyone was enjoying the drums, but they still had them confiscated without any proper explanation. Eden Park is New Zealand’s largest cricket stadium. It is located in central Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
“It just sort of feel like its racist. I’m really sorry but you know, that’s how I felt because we were enjoying it. If we did something illegal, that’s perfectly fine, take it away. They said it’s a rule of Eden Park but it feels very different because last world cup which was just last year, we took the same drums to Eden Park and then Wellington as well, so why the big difference now,” said a fan named Dilini Wijesinghe.
“We come here to enjoy it, this is a fan base. If you don’t like us to bring drums then you should make a Sri Lankan fan zone so we can bring drums and stuff to that area, and then we can enjoy,” he added.
Another fan Shirly Goonathilaka said the security asked him to shorten his flag pole which he did, but it was still taken off him because it could injure someone. He felt embarrassed as there was no drama and everyone loved the atmosphere. He also said that they weren’t the only people who had brought support.
Spectator Hayden Eastmond-Mein said the security were being over the top and taking extreme measures. “The big group of Sri Lankans they were targeting were just having a good time and providing most of the atmosphere in what can be a pretty dull stadium. I don’t blame the individual guards, they’re obviously just following inflexible rules that are supposedly about safety – but they just serve to make Eden Park a dull, fun-free zone,” he said.
To add insult to injury, the half-time entertainment was a group of samba drummers who walked straight past the group of Sri Lankan fans, he said. A spectator, who didn’t want to be named, said security guards were hanging around a group of Sri Lankan supporters near the boundary. About six of them had been evicted. Meanwhile, police communications staff said they did not have any information about the reported incidents.