Greta Thunberg Israel, What sparked the protests in Malmö?

Thousands of protesters gathered last Thursday in Malmö, Sweden, to protest Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. The protest was marked by the raising of the Palestinian flag and the presence of high-profile figures such as Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg. Demonstrators expressed support for Palestine and protested against Israel’s actions, especially in terms of the ongoing war with Hamas.

How did the protests unfold?

The historic Stortorget square, built in the 16th century near Malmö’s town hall, was packed with protesters who marched through the city and ended up in a park a few miles from the Eurovision venue. The crowd, estimated by police to be between 10,000 and 12,000 people, stood in solidarity, with smoke bombs reflecting the colours of the Palestinian flag. Chants of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and “Israel is a state of terror” echoed through the streets, highlighting the extreme emotions surrounding the matter.

Have you received any response from Eurovision and/or Israel?

In response to protests and pressure from the political establishment, Israel’s entry into the Eurovision Song Contest has undergone a major change. In response to protests and political pressure, the tune “October Rain”, originally a song celebrating the major Hamas attack on October 7, was renamed “Hurricane”. The change was in response to calls from various groups to depoliticize the contest. Israeli artist Eden Golan was allowed to continue to participate in the contest, but the title was changed to shift the theme of the contest from war to something else.

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How have these events affected the atmosphere at the Eurovision Song Contest?

The protests were an unsettling contrast to the joyous atmosphere of Eurovision week. Fans dressed in colorful sequins, dazzling costumes and national flags gathered in the streets alongside protesters wearing headscarves to show support for Palestinian protesters. The event highlighted the difficult interplay between art and politics, especially in a competition as broad and diverse as the Eurovision Song Contest.

What does this mean for the Eurovision Song Contest and political expression?

Eurovision has long been a platform for discussing Europe’s political tensions, often quietly but sometimes more vocally. The Malmö incident is a reminder that, despite its cultural and entertainment significance, Eurovision can also be a site for protest and political expression. This raises concerns about how to strike the right balance between keeping Eurovision a non-political event and accepting the reality that participating countries are interconnected.

in conclusion

The protests in Malmö reflect wider geopolitical tensions and the difficulties of staging international competitions in times of conflict. While primarily a musical and cultural event, this year’s Eurovision Song Contest does not exist in isolation and often reflects the political climate of the time. The response of organisers and participants to the protests illustrates the complex interplay between culture, entertainment and politics.

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