Thousands Gather in Malmo, Sweden, to Protest Israel's Eurovision Participation

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gather in Malmo, Sweden, protesting Israel's participation in Eurovision. Israeli singer Eden Golan faces mixed reactions during her performance. Climate activist Greta Thunberg joins the protest, urging action against Israel's actions in Gaza.

Trim Correspondents
New Update

Thousands Gather in Malmo, Sweden, to Protest Israel's Eurovision Participation

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators descended upon the streets of Malmo, Sweden, on Thursday, protesting against Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. As the city hosted the competition's second semi-final, which featured Israeli entrant Eden Golan, the air was thick with tension and contrasting passions.

The protests coincided with Golan's performance of her song "Hurricane," which had been met with boos during a rehearsal the previous day. However, the crowd's response on Thursday was more mixed, with cheers intermingled with boos, reflecting the divisive nature of the issue.

Among the estimated 12,000 participants in the pro-Palestinian demonstration was the renowned climate activist Greta Thunberg. Addressing the BBC, Thunberg emphasized the "moral obligation to act" and speak out against Israel's military operation in Gaza.

"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," Thunberg asserted.

Why It Matters: The pro-Palestinian protests in Malmo have thrust the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict onto the global stage, overshadowing what was intended to be a celebration of music and cultural unity. The events have reignited debates about the politicization of international events and the role of artistic expression in addressing complex geopolitical issues.

The protests also highlight the deep divisions and passions surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which continue to resonate worldwide, even in seemingly unrelated contexts. The juxtaposition of a prestigious music competition and large-scale demonstrations underscores the enduring nature of this conflict and its ability to captivate global attention.

As the protests unfolded, a smaller number of pro-Israeli demonstrators also took to the streets, setting the stage for potential clashes and escalating tensions. The Swedish authorities had heightened security measures in anticipation of potential unrest, reflecting the volatility of the situation.

Amidst the demonstrations, Golan, the Israeli entrant, remained steadfast in her resolve to represent her country. "I'm proud to represent my country," she declared, adding that "nothing will deter" her from performing. Her statement was echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who wished her good luck and praised her for "successfully confronting" what he described as a "horrible wave of antisemitism" in Sweden.

Key Takeaways

  • Pro-Palestinian protests in Malmo, Sweden, coincide with Eurovision Song Contest.
  • Demonstrators voice opposition to Israel's participation, reflecting deep-rooted tensions.
  • Climate activist Greta Thunberg joins thousands in condemning Israeli military operation in Gaza.
  • Thunberg emphasizes moral obligation to act against ongoing conflict.
  • Protests overshadow intended celebration of music and cultural unity.