Greta Thunberg removed from pro-Palestine protests by Swedish police outside Eurovision arena

Swedish activist was seen being escorted away by officers

Ellie Muir
Saturday 11 May 2024 20:40 BST
Greta Thunberg among thousands protesting against Israel competing in Eurovision

Climate activist Geta Thunberg has been removed by Swedish police outside the Malmö arena where the Eurovision final is taking place.

Thunberg, 21, had joined the Stop Israel march in Malmö where thousands continue to protest Israel’s inclusion in the competition over accusations the Israeli military was committing genocide in Gaza – something it strongly denies.

The activist was later pictured wearing a Keffiyeh scarf while being escorted away from the protest in moments before Saturday night’s final kicked off.

Follow The Independent’s live coverage of the competition here.

Some protesters were reported to be chanting “Shame on you” at attendees arriving at the arena, as they continue to boycott this year’s competition for its inclusion of Israel.

Israeli act Eden Golan’s song “Hurricane” was reworked from a previous track called “October Rain”, which was thought to be a reference to the Hamas attacks on Israel. Golan is taking part in the final after being successful at the semi-finals.

It comes as Thunberg accused Israel of “artwashing” its reputation at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Thunberg said: “People from all over Sweden are gathering in Malmo this week, where Eurovision is taking place, to protest against Israel’s participation in the competition.

“Yesterday we were tens of thousands people flooding the streets of Malmo. We will not accept that a country currently committing genocide is allowed a platform to artwash themselves.

Activist Greta Thunberg being removed from protests by Swedish police
Activist Greta Thunberg being removed from protests by Swedish police (EPA)

“The world cannot remain silent in a genocide. Everyone who can must use their voice and speak up against Israel’s crimes and occupation.”

The organisers behind Eurovision, the European Broadcasting Union, have repeatedly rejected calls to ban Israel from the contest amid its ongoing war on Gaza, where the death toll is believed to have reached as high as 35,000.

Swedish police have estimated between 10,000 to 12,000 people have taken part in the protest march against Israel’s participation in the competition.

Eurovision’s announced ahead of the competition that they reserve the right to remove any Palestinian flags and pro-Palestine symbols at the show, as protests mount against Israel’s participation in the competition amid its war in Gaza.

Last December, organisers of the event rejected calls for a boycott as they said it remains a “non-political event”.

​Organisers at Eurovision recently doubled down on their stance, saying that to exclude Israeli broadcaster Kan from the competition would have been a “political decision”.

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