Sat. May 18th, 2024

Eurovision: Thousands protest in host city Malmö as Israel secures spot in grand final

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May6,2024
Key Points
  • Demonstrators have gathered in Sweden to protest against Israel’s participation in Eurovision.
  • Israel’s entrant Eden Golan has secured a spot in the grand final, despite large-scale protests.
  • Golan said she is proud to represent her country, and that nothing will deter her.
More than 10,000 protesters, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, marched through the streets of Sweden’s Malmö to protest against Israel’s participation in Eurovision.
It comes as the city hosted the competition’s second semi-final, in which Israel’s entrant Eden Golan performed.

Golan was booed during a rehearsal of her song Hurricane, while a Palestinian flag was removed from an audience member during the semi-final performance.

A woman wearing a white dress stands with her arms spread widely. A microphone is in her right hand.

Eden Golan of Israel performs the song Hurricane during the second semi-final at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden. Source: AAP / Martin Meissner

Despite the protests, Golan qualified on Thursday alongside nine others for Saturday’s grand show which will feature performances from 26 countries.

“I am a Eurovision fan and it breaks my heart but I’m boycotting,” 30-year-old protester Hilda told AFP.

“I can’t have fun knowing that Israel is there participating when all those kids are dying. I think it’s just wrong.”

Another protester, Matilda Varatta, told Reuters that she would like to see Israel disqualified as Russia was in 2022 following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Eurovision organisers had resisted calls to exclude Israel over its military campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas’ 7 October attack, arguing that the competition is a non-political event.
More than 10,000 people gathered in Malmo’s main square before marching through the city’s central pedestrian shopping street, according to police estimates.

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

About 50 protesters made it to the front of the Malmo Arena, where the event took place, before being dispersed by a heavy police presence.
Protesters also entered the Eurovision Village, where spectators can follow the concert on large screens.

In a different neighbourhood, about 100 counter-protesters gathered under police protection to express their support for Israel.

Golan stands firm against protest

Golan said that she was “proud to represent my country” and that “nothing will deter” her.
She has also said she hopes her performance will help unite people.

“It’s a super important moment for us, especially this year,” she told Reuters in an interview this week. “I feel honoured to have the opportunity to be the voice of my country.”

“I’m focused on music, on the good energy, and there are so many people supporting me,” she said.

In a video message posted on social media, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had wished Golan good luck and said she had “already won” after “successfully contending” what he described as an “ugly wave of antisemitism” in Sweden.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Eurovision: Thousands protest in host city Malmö as Israel secures spot in grand final”
  1. As a supporter of human rights, I strongly believe that Israel’s participation in Eurovision is unacceptable considering the ongoing conflict. The protests in Malmö are a powerful reminder of the importance of standing up against injustice.

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