Two Just Stop Oil protesters have forced a stoppage in play at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
The duo invaded the arena shortly after play began early in the evening session with a man interrupting the match between Robert Milkins and Joe Perry by jumping on the table where he released a packet of orange dye.
A female protester was stopped from attacking the match between Mark Allen and Fan Zhengyi on table two by the quick-thinking response of referee Olivier Marteel.
Play was immediately suspended as staff brought vacuum cleaners into the arena.
Master of ceremonies Rob Walker was among those helping to sweep up the mess.
A 52-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage, South Yorkshire Police said. Both are in custody.
The match between Allen and Zhengyi eventually resumed on table two, which was not covered in dye.
A decision over whether or not to resume the other match will be taken after that match his completed, the World Snooker Tour said.
The damaged table will be reclothed overnight.
Former world champion Stephen Hendry, on commentary duties for the BBC, said: “I have never seen that before at a snooker event. It’s a first.
“It is scary. Wow! You just hope the cloth can be recovered from that. It caught us all by surprise and then this happens.
“For me, straight away as a snooker player I am thinking: ‘Is the table recoverable?’ We don’t know what that is on the table.”
The protest group’s official Twitter page posted a video of the incident saying: “At around 7:20pm, two Just Stop Oil supporters have disrupted the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, interrupting play.
“The pair proceeded to cover the tables in orange powder paint before being removed by security and arrested.
“They are demanding that the government immediately stop all new UK fossil fuel projects and are calling on UK sporting institutions to step into in civil resistance against the government’s genocidal policies.”
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The news comes after animal rights protesters disrupted the Grand National at Aintree over the weekend.
The start was delayed by 15 minutes after protesters attempted to enter the racecourse and fix themselves to the fences and railings along the route.
More than 118 animal rights protesters were arrested on Saturday – although 42 were later “de-arrested”.