Israel qualifies for Eurovision last amid protest about its participation over Gaza | EUROtoday

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Israel certified for this weekend’s Eurovision tune contest grand finale as 1000’s of demonstrators marched by way of Sweden’s Malmo on Thursday to protest its participation over the Gaza battle.

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Singer Eden Golan carried out her tune “Hurricane” in Thursday’s second semi-final with out incident in entrance of 9,000 spectators on the Malmo Arena and booked her place in Saturday’s last after a televote.

Earlier within the day, greater than 10,000 folks together with local weather activist Greta Thunberg gathered in Malmo’s primary sq. earlier than marching by way of the southern metropolis’s central pedestrian purchasing road, based on police estimates.

“I am a Eurovision fan and it breaks my heart, but I’m boycotting,” 30-year-old protester Hilda, who didn’t wish to present her surname, informed AFP.

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

Alongside indicators that learn: “Liberate Palestine”, banners that stated “EUR legitimises genocide” and “colonialism cannot be washed in pink” might be seen within the crowd.

About 50 protesters made it to the entrance of the Malmo Arena, the place the occasion is going down, earlier than being dispersed by a heavy police presence. Protesters additionally entered the Eurovision Village, the place spectators can comply with the live performance on massive screens.

In a unique neighbourhood, about 100 counter-protesters gathered beneath police safety to specific their assist for Israel.

Earlier Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu Thursday wished Golan good luck and stated she had “already won” by enduring the protests that he referred to as a “horrible wave of anti-Semitism”.

The battle in Gaza was sparked by Hamas’ unprecedented October 7 assault on Israel, which resulted within the deaths of greater than 1,170 folks, largely civilians, based on an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants additionally took about 250 hostages. Israel estimates 128 of them stay in Gaza, together with 36 who officers say are lifeless.

Israel in response vowed to crush Hamas and launched a army offensive that has killed not less than 34,904 folks in Gaza, largely ladies and kids, based on the Hamas-run territory’s well being ministry.

Protests calling for an finish to Israel’s punishing Gaza marketing campaign have damaged out on college campuses in North America, Europe and Australia.

‘Why not for Israel?’

In 2022, Russia’s state broadcaster was excluded from the European Broadcasting Union, which oversees Eurovision, within the wake of the battle in Ukraine.

“I feel like if they can remove Russia why can they not do it to Israel?” stated protester Marwo Mustafa.

“Hurricane” has already been partially re-written and given a brand new title after Eurovision organisers deemed the unique model to be too political.

Since the start of the yr, a number of petitions have demanded Israel’s exclusion from the 68th version of the annual music competitors, which opened with the primary semi-final on Tuesday.

At the top of March, contestants from 9 international locations, together with Swiss favorite Nemo, referred to as for an enduring ceasefire.

Protester Cecilia Brudell informed AFP: “At six and nine, my children are now at an age where they want to watch Eurovision but this year we are completely boycotting it.”