Norway fans opt for low-key French protest

Norwegian protests against French nuclear testing proved rather lacklustre on Saturday when Norway and France drew 0-0 in a friendly match.

Most of the 12,030 spectators at Oslo's Ullevaal stadium brandished leaflets with a "Non" printed inside a nuclear mushroom cloud as the French national anthem was played before the start of the match.

However, the crowd, returning to normal behaviour, then happily cheered on the national team and failed to comply with calls from Norwegian players to chant anti-nuclear slogans.

Activists, however, said they were happy that most spectators had protested against France's decision to resume nuclear testing in the Pacific. "We are very pleased with tonight's campaign," an activist said. "Almost everyone came to us and said they wanted to hold a banner. It is all because of Lars Bohinen, who raised the issue."

Bohinen, the Norway and Nottingham Forest midfielder, announced on Tuesday that he would boycott the match in protest at France's nuclear-testing policies.

The Norwegian players' council, led by the team captain and goalkeeper, Tottenham's Erik Thorstvedt, backed Bohinen's decision but shied away from making their own protests on the pitch after a warning from the governing body of world football, Fifa not to mix sport and politics.

French team officials said that the crowd's protest had not influenced the match because it was done respectfully. "The Norwegian public said what they had to say before the match and then there was football afterwards," France's coach, Aime Jacquet, said.