Thousands join Gaza war protest against Israel's Eurovision participation

Climate activist Greta Thunberg joined thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Eurovision 2024 host city Malmo on Thursday to protest Israel's participation in the song contest ahead of this year's second semi-final.

Some 100,000 visitors have gathered in the southern Swedish city for the annual kitsch-fest, which is taking place amid protests and boycotts over the Israeli military campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

"Young people are leading the way and showing the world how we should react to this," Thunberg, 21, said, wrapped in a keffiyeh, the traditional scarf that has become a symbol for Palestinian resistance.

Metal barricades and large concrete blocks have been put up around Malmo Arena, which is hosting the competition.

Police are guarding the venue and visitors need to pass through metal detectors before entering the arena. Bags are being checked and visitors are only allowed to bring in small purses.

Israeli contestant Eden Golan, 20, will perform her song "Hurricane" in the second semi-final later on Thursday.

A large crowd of protesters gathered on Malmo's central square Stortorget, some 7 kilometres (4.35 miles) from the competition venue, waiving Palestinian flags and shouting "boycott Israel".

Swedish authorities have heightened security and are bracing for possible unrest, and there was a significant police presence in the square, live footage showed.

Protester Kasia Wiatrowska, from Malmo, wore a green T-shirt with the words "Libre Palestine" on the back.


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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