Malmo braced for multiple demos ahead of Eurovision


Pro-Palestine groups in Malmö, Sweden, are planning a series of actions to protest against Israel’s participation in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, which the city will host in May.

Other Malmö residents are planning a “kippah march” on the day of the Eurovision final to protest against antisemitism.

Pro-Palestine activists are planning to set up a protest tent to distribute leaflets and to hold a Nakba Day demonstration in the city centre.

In 2009, Malmo was the scene of violent confrontations when a pro-Israel rally was pelted with eggs, bottles and fireworks.

“It is particularly important to participate in this year’s Palestine event as Malmö will welcome Israel to the Eurovision Song Contest in connection with our Al-Nakba,” said Mohannad Yousif, head of the Malmö Palestine network.

Mr Yousif led the 2009 demonstration against a Davis Cup tennis match between Israel and Sweden which, on Malmö mayor Ilmar Reepalu’s orders, was played to empty stands.

Thousands participated in the Davis Cup riots, but according to Mr Yousif the actions planned for Eurovision will focus on awareness-raising.

The aim is to promote boycotts and to explain “why Israel does not fit in at the Eurovision”, said Mr Yousif. He added that he cannot guarantee that other pro-Palestine groups will not take different kinds of actions.

Israel’s Eurovision contestant this year is singer Moran Mazor.

Sofia Nerbrand, organiser of the kippah marches in which participants are encouraged to wear Jewish symbols, said her demonstration is not about the Middle East conflict but about tolerance.

“Since there is concern and fear among Malmö’s Jews and since the city has received a reputation for antisemitism I, as a non-Jewish Malmö resident, feel it is important to show that there are forces for tolerance here and that it is unacceptable that Swedish citizens should be afraid to display Jewish symbols.”

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