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News > Sweden

Swedes Reject Israeli Participation in Eurovision Song Contest

  • Pro-Palestine rally in Malmö, Sweden, May 9, 2024.

    Pro-Palestine rally in Malmö, Sweden, May 9, 2024. | Photo: X/ @FlorianNeuhof

Published 10 May 2024

"From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free" was a slogan echoing through Malmö's streets.

On Thursday, thousands of Swedes marched through the streets of Malmö, the venue for the 2024 edition of Eurovision, to demand the expulsion of Israel from the music festival.


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Hours before the Israeli participant took the stage in the second semi-final of the competition, citizens gathered in downtown Malmö called by "Stop Israel For Peace and For a Free Palestine," a platform that brings together over 60 social organizations.

The demonstration, which began around 4:00 PM local time, traversed the streets of the third-largest Swedish city in population for almost two hours. 

"From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free" was one of the slogans echoing through the streets, chanted by thousands of people who criticized the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) for not excluding Israel from the festival.

The text reads, "This how the streets of Malmö in Sweden are. The Eurovision Song Contest is being held there. And they are going to get much more crowded. Thousands of people are protesting the participation of the genocidal state of Israel.

Critics of the event recalled that Eurovision expelled Russia due to its military operation in Ukraine. However, the festival's organizers allow the participation of citizens of the Zionist State, which has been conducting a military offensive in Gaza since October 2023.

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg and hundreds of Danish citizens also attended the protest. Throughout the march, protesters were accompanied by dozens of police officers.

In a rehearsal before the festival, several human rights defenders were ejected from the Malmö Arena for displaying Palestinian flags and scarves during the performance of Eden Golan, the singer representing Israel in the festival's semi-final.

Organizers of the pro-Palestine rally have called for another mass protest on Saturday, hours before the final of the competition.

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