British police say a man has been arrested after pro-Palestinian protesters disrupted a performance by the Israeli national theater company at the Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London.
Tel Aviv’s Habima company was performing Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” on Monday evening during the “Globe to Globe” festival when a small number of demonstrators unfurled banners and displayed a Palestinian flag.
Metropolitan Police said one man was arrested for assault on a security guard and remains in custody.
The Globe’s artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, appealed for protesters not to disturb the show in a speech before the curtain went up, reported the Jewish Chronicle. But the activists ignored him and several were removed from the theater by security after shouting, waving banners and disturbing other audience members.
The report also said that a group of protesters were picked up by their hands and feet after they began screaming and refused to stop or leave the venue.
Despite the disturbances, the performance went on. Haaretz reported that at one point the actor playing Shylock, Yaakov Cohen, pointed at disrupters while saying the line: “I hate him for he is a Christian.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters had gathered across from the theater, waving Palestinian flags and signs denouncing “The Israeli Apartheid regime.” Supporters of Israel also gathered outside as part of a counter-protest.
The performance, which is part of a festival of Shakespearean plays in different languages (the Habima company is performing in Hebrew), was expected to attract pro-Palestinian activists and the theater had taken unprecedented precautions in light of security concerns.