New Zealand police have been accused of treating Sri Lankan cricket fans unfairly by removing some of them for playing music during the New Zealand vs Sri Lanka Twenty20 cricket match at Eden Park today.
Twitter and Facebook are rife with accusations security guards are acting as the “fun police” and being too hard on fans, confiscating musical instruments and kicking people out, stuff.co.nz reported.
Witnesses have reportedly seen Sri Lankan fans being 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.
Dilini Wijesinghe said everyone was enjoying the drums, but they still had them confiscated without any proper explanation.
“It just sort of feel like it’s 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.”
“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 fanzone so we can bring drums and stuff to that area, and then we can enjoy.”
Shirly Goonathilaka said the security asked for him to shorten his flag pole which he did, but it was still taken off him because it could “injure” someone.
Hayden Wilson who was sitting near the group said as a New Zealand European, it was disappointing.
“Cricket is about festivities, its about fun, it’s about the terraces, it’s about having a good time,” he said.
“It was disappointing to see them get in trouble, get their drums confiscated and they actually create an atmosphere, you know.”
It’s embarrassing he said. There were no dramas, everyone loved the atmosphere – and 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”
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.
“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.”
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.
“They seem loud but well behaved and self contained,” he said.
Police communications staff said they did not have any information about the reported incidents. (Colombo Gazette)