Page last updated at 18:37 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

Clashes in Sweden at Israel match


Violent protests at the Davis Cup

Dozens of anti-Israel demonstrators have clashed with Swedish police in Malmo as they sought to disrupt a tennis match between Sweden and Israel.

At least five rock-throwing protesters were held in the southern city, police say. There were no reports of injuries.

The demonstrators, mostly youths, tried to storm an arena where the Sweden-Israel Davis Cup match was being held.

They chanted slogans condemning Israel's recent offensive in Gaza and urged support for the Palestinians.

Swedish police said the clashes near the Baltic Hall arena began soon after thousands of people attended the peaceful Stop the Match rally in central Malmo.

Some protesters then tried to break through police barricades set up around the sports complex, police said.

They hurled stones, firecrackers and bottles of paint at police vans, but were dispersed by hundreds of riot police.

Protesters throw stones at police vans in Malmo, Sweden
Protesters tried to break through police barricades around the Baltic Hall arena
Violence reportedly continued in other parts of the city.

Only about 300 specially-chosen guests were allowed to watch the doubles match, because Malmo officials said they could not guarantee security at the venue.

Israeli player Andy Ram said it was a "stupid decision" to play the tie behind closed doors.

"Playing without a crowd is like playing a practice match," he said.

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