After an unsuccessful attempt to persuade riders and cycling teams to pull out of the first three stages of the Giro d’Italia race held in Israel, activists on Tuesday took their protest to the fourth stage of the 21-day road race, which started at Catania in Sicily.
Activists demonstrated against the Israeli team at the starting line, then ran onto the route, attempting to block it, before local police armed with batons removed them, according to the Israel Cycling Academy.
The boycott-Israel movement has been battling Israeli competitive cyclists for some months, trying to encourage European competitions to shun them.
In its 101-year history, the Giro has previously opened a dozen times outside Italy but never outside Europe.
Its arrival in Israel was the result of lobbying efforts by Sylvan Adams, an amateur cyclist and real estate mogul from Canada who moved to Israel two years ago.
The start of the race in Israel was planned to coincide with Israel’s marking 70 years of independence.