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Union protest in Belgium interrupts Eurovision broadcast over Israel’s actions

Union protest in Belgium interrupts Eurovision broadcast over Israel's actions
By Yagiz Efe Parmaksiz
May 10, 2024 2:49 AM

Belgian national broadcaster VRT’s unions air solidarity message condemning human rights violations by Israel

Ahead of the commencement of the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest, the unions of VRT,  Belgian national broadcaster, aired a message of solidarity for the Palestinian people, condemning what they termed as human rights violations by the state of Israel.

Moments before the broadcast on VRT commenced, the screen momentarily turned black, displaying the following message: “This is a union action. We condemn the human rights violations by the state of Israel. Moreover, the state of Israel destroys press freedom. Therefore, we are interrupting the broadcast momentarily.” The message concluded with a call for a ceasefire: “#CeasefireNow.”

“This is indeed a union action,” responded VRT spokesperson Yasmine Van der Borght to Het Laatste Nieuws. “We were informed that it would happen. Trade unions have the right to take action and do not need permission for it. I can only confirm that we have taken note of the action.”

The ACOD-VRT union defended the action. “With horror, we have been watching the events in the Middle East for months now. We are convinced that the state of Israel is committing genocide, and therefore it is scandalous that there is an Israeli entry in the Eurovision Song Contest,” they stated.

Earlier in the evening, 70 people had protested at the main entrance of RTBF and VRT. The action, organized by groups including Intal and BDS Brussels, criticized the Belgian public broadcasters for allowing the broadcast to proceed. Some protesters even pointed to an alleged “complicity in genocide” by both broadcasters.

Simultaneously, a large protest march was underway in Malmö. According to the French news agency AFP, over 5,000 people marched along the city’s main thoroughfare, waving Palestinian flags. Climate activist Greta Thunberg was also in attendance.

Petitions across Europe called for the exclusion of Israel. In late March, candidates from nine countries advocated for a sustainable ceasefire.

“While Israel is conducting a genocide in Gaza, where more than 35,000 people have been killed, including 14,000 children, and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are currently invading the city of Rafah, Israel is participating in the Eurovision Song Contest,” stated Florian Gillard of the Brussels BDS movement.

Source: Newsroom

Last Updated:  Jun 3, 2024 5:00 PM