Greta Thunberg Detained at Eurovision Protest

TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson via Reuters
TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson via Reuters

Climate activist Greta Thunberg was detained by Swedish police in Malmö on Saturday for attending a pro-Palestinian protest outside the Eurovision venue.

Thunberg, who was wearing a keffiyeh, was escorted away from the event by the cops, according to footage from the incident. Police said in a statement that they had “handled a number of unauthorized public gatherings” and taken several people into custody, but it was not immediately clear if Thunberg was among them or faced any charges.

“I’m here to show we think it is outrageous and inexcusable for Eurovision to let Israel participate while committing a genocide,” Thunberg said in a statement.

The demonstration was organized to protest the participation of Israel in the Eurovision contest while Israel is waging war in Gaza. Israeli singer Eden Golan, 20, qualified to participate in the 68th edition of the song contest earlier this week.

Golan had been met with a chorus of cheers and boos in dress rehearsals and the semi-final on Thursday, the BBC reported.

“It is truly such an honor to be here on stage, representing [Israel] with pride,” Golan said.

Israel’s onslaught against Gaza, part of an effort to root out Hamas terrorists following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, has killed over 30,000 Palestinians, most of whom are women and children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. The protest coincides with Israel planning a ground offensive in Gaza that the United Nations has warned will be a slaughter. U.S. President Joe Biden and his aides have been urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in phone calls and meetings to consider other courses of action given that Israel’s current plan to blast through Rafah will inevitably harm civilians.

Demonstrators hold signs and Palestinian flags

Demonstrators hold signs and Palestinian flags, as people protest against Israeli participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.

(REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger)

Israeli authorities earlier Saturday ordered Palestinians to evacuate from more regions of Rafah, the southern city where Israel had forced civilians to go for safety earlier in the war.

Student movements around the globe have kicked off a series of protests against Israel’s war in Gaza, from Columbia University in New York to Cambridge in the U.K. and hundreds of other schools. Police have cracked down on protests, leading to thousands of arrests.

Protesters march carrying sign that says "Welcome to Genocide Song Contest"

Protesters march during the Stop Israel demonstration against Israel's participation in the 68th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC).

(TT News Agency/Johan Nilsson via REUTERS)

“STOP USING Eurovision TO WHITEWASH THE ISRAELI CRIMES,” one sign protesters carried at the Malmö protest read.

Another read “WELCOME TO GENOCIDE SONG CONTEST,” alongside an image of a heart dripping red ink like blood.

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators were expected to partake in the protest, waving Palestinian flags, the police stated earlier.

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