WATCH: Police pepper-spray protesters demanding to ‘Free Nole’
Australian police officers were filmed using pepper spray on Monday to disperse a crowd of tennis star Novak Djokovic’s supporters following his victory in his visa case.
People, some wrapped in Serbian flags and chanting “free Nole,” swarmed a car leaving the office of the athlete’s legal team in Melbourne. Several officers used pepper spray to push the unruly crowd away from the vehicle. Some responded by hurling objects at police.
Djokovic has just won an appeal against the Australian authorities, who canceled his visa last week. Judge Anthony Kelly ruled that the decision to revoke the visa was “unreasonable,” because the athlete was not given enough time to respond to officials.
Djokovic was set to play at the Australian Open and tried to enter the country with a Covid vaccine medical exemption. Officials, however, argued that he broke the entry rules. “Djokovic’s visa has been cancelled. Rules are rules, especially when it comes to our borders. No one is above these rules,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted at the time.
The tennis star said in the past that he opposed vaccination and “wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.”
The player’s participation in the tournament remains in limbo. His father told the BBC that Djokovic will attend a news conference with his family later on Monday. The judge ordered Djokovic to be immediately released from an immigration detention center, but there are also unconfirmed reports that he was arrested again.