BIRMINGHAM, July 11: Small aircraft towing political messages continued to embarrass the host country after a plane with a message in support of Balochistan flew over the Edgbaston cricket stadium during the second semifinal between England and Australia here on Thursday. A small plane has circled the semifinal between Australia and England five times while trailing a protest banner in the skies of Birmingham.
The banner read, “World must speak up for Balochistan,” a province in Pakistan. This was not the first time small aircraft carrying political messages flew over the venues during the ongoing World Cup. Such an incident happened during two group matches in Leeds. During the India-Sri Lanka group match, a plane flew over the Headingley Cricket Ground with banners reading, “Justice for Kashmir,” and “India stop genocide & free Kashmir.”
It was further followed by another plane with a message to stop mob lynching in India. Before that, during the Pakistan-Afganistan match, a banner was towed also about Balochistan.
Red-faced by such repeated incidents and pressure from the BCCI, the ICC and the Local Organising Committee were forced to declare the air space over Old Trafford as no-fly zone during the first semifinal between India and New Zealand.
But the India-New Zealand tie too witnessed its share of drama when four Pro-Khalistan Sikh spectators were evicted from the stadium by the ICC for sporting T-shirts with political messages. – PTI