As she received her award, a young man ran onto the stage waving a Mexican flag that he had apparently smuggled into the heavily guarded ceremony, and he was whisked away by a guard.
The youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize took the stage in Norway on Wednesday flashing a big grin as she held up the highly coveted prize.
But Malala Yousafzai’s shining moment was abruptly interrupted by an unannounced guest: a Mexican medical student carrying his country’s flag.
Yousafzai, the 17-year old Pakistani who received the prestigious award after she risked her life to fight for woman’s rights and child slavery in her country, looked on in confusion as the man rushed the stage dressed in black pants, a gray jacket and a camera hanging from his neck. The man, who has not been identified, was quickly detained by security in the building and escorted out of the ceremony.
While the lone protestor’s motive is unknown, there is speculation that he was trying to raise awareness for the 43 missing college students in the Mexican state of Guerrero. The unnamed medical student had earlier shaken Malala's hand in Oslo’s Grand Hotel, which is where she was staying, telling her how much he admired her.
“Please, Malala ... Talk about Mexico,” the man was heard telling her, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang reported.
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Norwegian officials have given little information about the Mexican medical student. Officials said he was seeking asylum in the Scandinavian country and he did not have a ticket to the Nobel Award ceremony. Police are now reviewing video surveillance to figure out how the man got into the heavily guarded ceremony.
“This person is now detained and we now working to find out what has happened,” Unni Waterhouse, a spokesman for the Oslo Police told local media. “We will come back with further information as soon as it is completed.”
By honoring this year's winners, the Norwegian Nobel Committee linked the peace award to conflicts between world religions and neighboring nuclear powers as well as drawing attention to children's rights.
The other awards — in medicine, physics, chemistry and literature — are set to be presented in Stockholm later Wednesday. The ceremonies are always held on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.