Two stars of a hit Australian comedy show were arrested on Thursday as they carried out a prank outside the hotel where US President George W. Bush is staying, their network said.
Julian Morrow and Chas Licciardello, from the satirical program "The Chaser's War on Everything," were among 11 crew members arrested filming outside the InterContinental Hotel, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television said.
"They were producing a stunt, they were producing material," said ABC spokesman Peter Ritchie. "They were shooting for the programme, they were at the hotel, police detained them and ABC lawyers and management are with the boys."
Members of the cult comedy programme said the prank involved a fake motorcade decked out with Canadian flags.
Team members said they thought Canada might be a country that might not be too closely scrutinised and might realistically have only three cars in a motorcade.
Police said the two stars were arrested for breaching a restricted zone in the heart of Sydney, near the meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
Bush is among a long list of world leaders coming to Sydney for the APEC summit, which has been marked by protests and a security lockdown which has left large parts of the city centre fenced off.
Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer denied the stunt had revealed a chink in the intense security arrangements.
"The point is they were in any case arrested, so I think the security works," he said.
It was not the first time the "Chaser" team has brushed with the law. Licciardello was charged with offensive conduct last year over a prank outside a rugby league match, but the charge was later thrown out in court.
On Wednesday the same team appeared at an anti-APEC protest, with a member appearing as a police officer on a pantomime horse, highlighting the fact that an outbreak of equine influenza has prevented police horses being used for security at APEC.
Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2007, 14:41