Sweden prepares to host Eurovision Song Contest in shadow of Gaza war

Glitter and rhinestones or pro-Palestinian demonstrations and slogans? The 2024 Eurovision Song Contest opens in the southern Swedish city of Malmo on Tuesday overshadowed by the war in Gaza.

Looming over the festivities is Israel's participation in the almost 70-year-old contest, which this year brings together 37 countries, concluding with the final on May 11.

Malmo resident Anders Puschel told AFP that he will be taking part in a demonstration on May 9, the same day Israel will be competing in the second semi-final.

"During the ongoing war, Israel's participation should be banned in the same way they banned Russia," Puschel said.

In 2022, Russian broadcasters were excluded from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) -- which oversees the competition -- in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

Read moreEurovision: With Russia excluded, Ukraine wins the political contest

"The message was, we don't like people who are not living up to democratic standards," anthropologist and Eurovision specialist Lisanne Wilken said.

Since the beginning of the year, several petitions have demanded Israel's exclusion.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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