NEWS

Toronto FC Fans' 'Refugees Welcome' Banner Ordered Removed

09/14/2015 08:24 EDT | Updated 09/14/2015 08:59 EDT

People all over the world have been waving "Refugees welcome" banners at events such as soccer games and concerts in response to the millions who have been displaced by fighting in Syria.

Some Toronto FC supporters would love to wave such a banner too ... if only Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) would let them.

Soccer fan Ciaran Breen unfurled the following banner at a game on Sunday.

But then this happened.

The National Post reported that fans were told they couldn't hold the banner unless they were sitting in the supporters' area, between sections 111 and 119 at BMO Field.

The fans pointed out they were sitting in section 111, but they eventually took down the banner anyway, after speaking further with security.

MLSE told the Post that "banners containing political messaging of any kind are not permitted."

Its removal led to plenty of criticism on social media.

This development comes after German soccer clubs Borussia Dortmund and St. Pauli hoisted a united "Refugees Welcome" banner last week, CBC News reported.

But not all soccer clubs have been as welcoming.

Fans of Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv were spotted with a "Refugees not welcome" banner at a game against Kiryat Shmona, The Daily Mirror reported.

But fans of another Israeli club, Hapoel Tel Aviv, hoisted a banner in Hebrew that said, "Who isn't a migrant here?"

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has counted a total of 4,088,099 registered refugees from Syria.

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