Greta Thunberg detained as protests over Israel shake Eurovision

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Editor : Selin Hayat Hacialioglu
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Eurovision in Malmo becomes a focal point for global protest, with Thunberg detained and significant public outcry over Israel's participation amid accusations of genocide

Greta Thunberg detained as protests over Israel shake Eurovision

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was detained Saturday by local police during protests against Israel's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The event held in Malmo has been marred by demonstrations, with thousands expressing their discontent over Israel's military actions in Gaza.

Environmental activist Thunberg joined the "Stop Israel" march, where protesters, including those waving Palestinian flags, rallied against what they describe as an attempt by Israel to "artwash" its image through cultural events.

The term refers to using art and cultural initiatives to improve or sanitize one's reputation amid controversy, particularly regarding human rights abuses.

The protests escalated before the Eurovision final, with reports of smoke flares set off in the colors of the Palestinian flag and chants like "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."

Amid the growing tension, police removed from the scene Thunberg and several others, a move she later criticized. "It is absurd that the police behave like this when we protest against the violence in Gaza," national broadcaster SVT quoted Thunberg.

Despite the protests, the Eurovision organizers have maintained that the event is apolitical, stating that excluding Israel would be a "political decision" they wish to avoid. However, this stance has not quelled the unrest, with a significant number of demonstrators gathering in Malmo, estimated between 10,000 to 12,000 by the Swedish police.

Amid these tensions, Eurovision has taken measures to ensure safety, including banning Palestinian flags and pro-Palestine symbols at the venue, a decision that has further fueled the controversy. Riot police were also deployed to prevent demonstrators from entering the arena, resulting in at least 50 detentions.

The Israeli contestant, Eden Golan, performed under heavy security. Her song "Hurricane," which has stirred additional debate because of its perceived references to recent conflicts, was part of the final lineup despite calls from some protestors for her withdrawal.

Source: Newsroom

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