Pro-Palestinian Protests Outside Eurovision Competition Demand Removal Of Israeli Contestant – Update

UPDATE: Activist Greta Thunberg has reportedly been removed from the protest outside the Malmö arena. She was pictured wearing a Keffiyeh scarf while being escorted away from the protest. It is unclear whether there was an arrest. She was previously quoted as condemning Israel’s participation in the competition as “artwashing.”

Other protesters outside the event were chanting “Shame on you” at attendees arriving at the arena.

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EARLIER: A crowd of protesters estimated by authorities at up to 10,000 took to the streets of Malmö, Sweden on Saturday, calling for an end to Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest being held tonight in the city.

Swedish police held back the crowd, who demanded that Israeli Eurovision contestant Eden Golan be removed from the final.

Golan is representing Israel with the song Hurricane. It was originally titled October Rain in reference to the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. Golan is reportedly under guard at her hotel by Israel’s Shin Bet security team. She will be escorted to the event by Swedish police and her own team, according to reports.

Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Ziv Nevo Kulman, condemned the protests, telling Dagens Nyheter: “We have the world’s biggest music competition in Malmö and the focus in recent weeks has been on extremists because the pro-Palestinian groups demonstrating are among the most extreme of the extreme.

“They were the same people who celebrated in the streets after October 7th. And they are joined by the BDS movement and the radical left from across the continent who choose to come to Malmö. The provocations come from the other side, they are the ones who seek confrontation.”

The ambassador also condemned the Eurovision audience for booing Golan, saying: “I know that it is not forbidden to boo a bad artist. But Eden Golan hadn’t even started singing before people booed. It was political and I don’t think it belongs in Eurovision. And seriously, I don’t think you’re expressing any opinion when you boo an artist.”

The protests have extended to fellow Eurovision contestants, some of whom have shunned her and requested her to leave the room. Marina Satti, representing Greece in the contest, pretended to sleep while Golan was giving a press conference.

Golan wrote on social media on Saturday ahead of the final: “I stand on this stage with so much pride. proud of our song and the hard work we’ve put into it. proud of my country and the people in it. I feel your love and support from miles away that nothing or no one can break me down. tonight I’m sharing OUR voice and going to give the best performance I can. I love you guys.”

Today’s protest follows a similarly sized one on Thursday. Swedish political activist Greta Thunberg joined in that demonstration.

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