Anti-Israeli Protests in the Thousands During the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo

Thousands of people have demonstrated against Israel's participation in Eurovision in the streets

Thousands of supporters of Palestine have assembled in Malmo, Sweden, to express their disapproval of Israel’s entry into the Eurovision song contest.

It occurs on Thursday night, when Israel’s Eden Golan is performing in the competition’s second semi-final, which is being held in the city.

During a Wednesday practice of her song Hurricane, Ms Golan was heckled.

A more modest protest in favour of Israel has also occurred.

Greta Thunberg, a climate activist, was among the attendees of the pro-Palestinian demonstration, which attracted an estimated 12,000 people, according to Swedish police.

She stated to the BBC that speaking out against Israel’s military action in Gaza was part of one’s “moral obligation to act”.

“If we are tens of thousands of people flooding the streets of Malmo when Eurovision is taking place, saying we will not accept this to continue, then it’s a very strong signal – and it does make a difference,” said Thunberg.

Matilda Varatta, a different protestor, told the Reuters news agency that she wanted to see Israel eliminated, just as Russia had been after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

“It’s not true that the Eurovision is not political, it has always been political, and it will always be,” she stated.

Previously, Ms. Golan declared that “nothing will deter” her and that she was “proud to represent my country”.

“I’m focused on music, on the good energy, and there are so many people supporting me, and I feel like I have such an honour to represent my country, especially in these times” .

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Ms. Golan luck and declared that she had “already won” after “successfully confronting” what he called a “horrible wave of antisemitism” in Sweden in a video message that was shared on social media on Thursday night.

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There was a heavy police presence at the pro-Israel protest, but many could still be heard singing Hurricane in support of Ms. Golan.

Yael Sages Wahlström, one of the demonstrators, told Sweden’s Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, “I’m not that interested in Eurovision,”

“But since there has been such a huge storm of hate against Israel, I wanted to support” .

The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation, which organises the country’s contest entry, said it has contacted the European Broadcasting Union to avoid a repeat of Wednesday’s booing episode.

Swedish authorities say they have increased security and are preparing for possible turmoil.

Israel started a military operation in Gaza on October 7 in retaliation for Hamas’ cross-border strike on southern Israel.

A total of 1,200 individuals were slain, and 252 more were captured.

Since then, the health ministry in Gaza, which is governed by Hamas, has reported over 34,900 deaths in the region.

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