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Thousands March in Malmo against Israel’s Participation in Eurovision



In Malmo, Sweden, thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered to protest against Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. The protesters, waving Palestinian flags, filled the Stortorget square before marching through the city to a nearby park. The police estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000 people participated in the rally, which included Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg among the crowd.

During the demonstration, the protesters chanted slogans such as “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Israel is a terror state”. They also set off smoke flares in the colors of the Palestinian flag as a symbol of solidarity. Despite the noisy atmosphere, the rally remained peaceful, with a large police presence to ensure the safety of the participants.

A smaller pro-Israel protest was also held in Malmo on the same day, reflecting the ongoing tensions surrounding Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. While contest organisers aim to keep the event apolitical, calls to bar Israel over the conflict in Gaza have been rejected. Instead, Israel was asked to change the lyrics of its entry, which was originally titled October Rain in reference to a Hamas-led attack on October 7.

Israeli singer Eden Golan, whose song was renamed Hurricane, was allowed to compete in the contest despite the controversy. During a dress rehearsal, some audience members were heard booing during Golan’s performance, highlighting the divided opinions among Eurovision viewers. Despite this, Golan received enough viewer votes to secure a spot in the top 10 of the semifinal acts, earning a place in the final competition on Saturday.

Critics of Israel’s participation in Eurovision point out that other countries, such as Russia and Belarus, have been disqualified from the contest in the past due to political reasons. Russia was removed from Eurovision in 2022 following its invasion of Ukraine, while Belarus was ejected a year earlier due to its government’s crackdown on dissent. The decision to allow Israel to compete has sparked debate and raised questions about the intersection of politics and international events.

Overall, the protests in Malmo highlight the complex political dynamics surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As the competition continues, it remains to be seen how these tensions will impact the event and the participants involved.

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