Protesters descend on Eurovision, object to Israel’s participation


MALMÖ, Sweden — Thousands of demonstrators waving Palestinian flags flooded Sweden’s third largest city on Thursday to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and protest Israel’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest here this week.

The annual celebration of music and kitsch, watched by more than 150 million people, is often enmeshed in politics. But some observers say this is the most politically charged edition of the contest in its 68-year history. For weeks, artists and activists have been calling on Eurovision to ban Israel over its war in Gaza.

The sound of police helicopters circling over downtown Malmö Thursday afternoon was drowned out by chants of “Eurovision shame on you! Blood is on your hands too!" and “Free, free Palestine!"