Video: Pro-Palestine protesters flood Malmo streets to protest Israeli participation in Eurovision

Ahram Online , AFP , Friday 10 May 2024

Thousands of demonstrators, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, marched through the streets of Malmo, Sweden Thursday to protest against Israel's participation in Eurovision, an AFP journalist observed.

Demonstrators carry Palestinian flags protest against Israel s participation in the Eurovision Song
Demonstrators carry Palestinian flags protest against Israel s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) in Malm , Sweden, on May 9, 2024. AFP


This year's Eurovision Song Contest opened in the southern city of Malmo on Tuesday, with the grand finale on Saturday, but the war in Gaza is looming over the festivities.

"I am a Eurovision fan and it breaks my heart but I'm boycotting. I can't have fun knowing that Israel is there participating when all those kids are dying. I think it's just wrong," 30-year-old protester Hilda, who did not want to provide her surname, told AFP.

Israel killed at least 34,904 people in Gaza and wounded more than 78,000 others, mostly women and children, since the start of its genocidal war on the Gaza Strip on 7 October.

In 2022, Russia's state broadcaster was excluded from the European Broadcasting Union, which oversees Eurovision, in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

"I feel like if they can remove Russia why can they not do it to Israel?" 29-year-old Margo Mustafa said.

"The people are here for Eurovision trying to celebrate. There's nothing to celebrate. It's an ongoing war", she added.

More than 5,000 people gathered on Thursday afternoon in Malmo's main square, according to an AFP estimate.

Alongside signs that read: "Liberate Palestine", banners that said "EUR legitimises genocide" and "colonialism cannot be washed in pink" could be read in the crowd.



Israel's entry, "Hurricane" by singer Eden Golan, will compete in Thursday's semi-final. It has already been partially re-written and given a new title after Eurovision organisers deemed the original version to be too political.

Protester Cecilia Brudell told AFP: "At six and nine, my children are now at an age where they want to watch Eurovision but this year we are completely boycotting it".

Since the beginning of the year, several petitions have demanded Israel's exclusion from the 68th edition of the annual music competition.

At the end of March, contestants from nine countries, including Swiss favourite Nemo, called for a lasting ceasefire.

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