Pro-Palestinian activists protest outside BBC calling for Olly Alexander to boycott Eurovision

Olly Alexander has been selected as the UK's Eurovision entry for 2024
Olly Alexander has been selected as the UK's Eurovision entry for 2024 -Credit:Ricky Vigil M / Justin E Palmer/GC Images

A large group has gathered outside the BBC Broadcasting House building in Central London calling for Olly Alexander to boycott this year's Eurovision this evening (Thursday, April 25). The pro-Palestine group has been calling for the singer, who has been selected as Britain's representative at the European music competition, not to participate.

There is also reportedly a pro-Israel counter-protest happening as well. The pro-Palestine demonstrators were filmed shouting "Olly Olly Olly, Out Out Out", with many in the crowd waving Palestinian flags.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign tweeted: "Hundreds are gathered outside @BBCNews 3to call on the BBC and @alexander_olly to heed the Palestinian call and #BoycottEurovision2024."

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In 2022, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) excluded Russia from participating in the competition. Pro-Palestinian activists and groups have argued that Israel should be excluded for the same reason.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has now created a petition calling for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024.

They say: "Palestinians have called for a boycott of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 because of the refusal of its organisers, the European Broadcasting Union, to expel genocidal Israel from the competition. As part of the call to boycott, Palestinians have asked all artists to withdraw."

Last month, more than 450 LGBTQ+ artists, organisations and more individuals signed an open letter urging Olly Alexander to pull out of Eurovision, in protest at Israel's inclusion in the competition. The group, Queers for Palestine, said Israel's presence in Eurovision is normalising the war in Gaza.

Following calls for him not to participate, Alexander responded on social media on March 29, saying: "We want to begin by acknowledging the privilege of taking part in Eurovision. In light of the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and particularly in Gaza, and in Israel, we do not feel comfortable being silent.

“It it important to us to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and communicate our heartfelt wish for peace, an immediate lasting ceasefire, and the safe return of all hostages. We stand united against all forms of hate, including antisemitism and islamophobia.

"We firmly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections. We feel that it is our duty to create and uphold this space, with a strong hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy."

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