Four Australian Open spectators ‘revealed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards,’ organizer says



Four people who attended the Australian Open were questioned by Victoria Police after they “disclosed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards,” a Tennis Australia spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday.

“Four people in the crowd leaving the stadium unveiled inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards,” the Tennis Australia spokesperson said. “Victoria police intervened and are continuing to question them.

“Everyone’s comfort and safety is our priority and we are working closely with security and authorities.”

Victoria Police later told CNN that police spoke to four men after a Russian flag was displayed on the steps at the site around 10:20 pm local time in Melbourne on Wednesday. All four men were evicted, a police spokesman told CNN.

Video posted on social media by tennis journalist Tumaini Carayol shows a person holding a flag with the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin on it. It is unknown if those shown in the video were among the four who were evicted.

Photos taken by Getty Images show a man wearing a T-shirt with the letter “Z” on it while at the Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday during the men’s singles quarterfinal between Russia’s Andrey Rublev and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.

Tennis Australia did not say whether the man in the photos is one of four people questioned by police, and a police spokesperson told CNN she has not seen any footage of the men involved. It is not clear when the man was first seen with the shirt on. Another photo shows the same man wearing a different shirt.

The“Z” symbol is seen as a sign of support for Russia, including the invasion of Ukraine. The symbol has been seen on Russian equipment and clothing in Ukraine.

Tennis Australia previously said fans are not allowed to bring the Russian or Belarusian flag onto the Australian Open grounds in order to enforce the “neutral flag” policy.

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