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More than 10,000 protest Israel’s Eurovision participation in Malmo as Israeli singer is booed off stage

More than 10,000 protest Israel's Eurovision participation in Malmo as Israeli singer is booed off stage
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
May 9, 2024 9:58 PM

Pro-Palestine activists in Malmo, Sweden, protest Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, with thousands of people gathered in the old Stortorget plaza

Pro-Palestine activists poured thousands of people onto Malmo’s streets on Thursday to protest Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, as the Israeli singer was booed off stage during a rehearsal.

With Palestinian flags in hand, the protestors gathered in the old Stortorget plaza next to Malmo’s town hall from the sixteenth century before starting a march around the city. Among the projected 10,000–12,000 attendees of the event was Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Demonstrators expressed their disapproval of Israel’s participation while 20-year-old Eden Golan, the country’s entry, practiced her rendition of “Hurricane” for the second Eurovision semi-final.

While some demonstrators held banners with the term “genocide,” an accusation that Israel has vigorously disputed amid continuing hostilities with Hamas, others set off smoke canisters in the colors of the Palestinian flag 

With more police officers sent in from nearby Denmark and Norway to keep the peace during the protests, security measures in Malmo were stepped up.

On Wednesday at a dress rehearsal, Golan was booed and chanted “Free Palestine,” and one spectator claimed that event officials had taken a Palestinian flag. “Nothing will deter me,” she stated firmly in a post-rehearsal statement as she was booed off the stage during it. 

Only the rainbow flag and flags of participating nations will be allowed at the event, according to the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which regulates Eurovision, and warned that any additional banners or emblems would be taken down.

The EBU confirmed Israel’s eligibility claiming compliance with broadcasting rules, despite appeals to exclude it from taking part because of its war activities in Gaza. Advocate organizations criticized the choice, but the EBU stressed its independence and said that political factors had no bearing on their choice.

Jean Philip De Tender, the deputy director general of the EBU, emphasized the organization’s apolitical stance, stating, “We cannot exclude Kan (Israeli public broadcaster) based on political considerations.” 

Golan has made many changes to her “Hurricane” performance, which has five supporting dancers and a wheel-shaped core prop, in response to criticism of its political connotations. After EBU complaints to lyrics alluding to Hamas assaults on Israel, the song was renamed “October Rain.” Some detractors maintain that the song’s lyrics still hint to the continuous fighting in the area despite these modifications.

Source: Newsroom

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 5:00 PM