Eurovision kicks off as fans shouted at by pro-Palestinian protesters

The Eurovision Song Contest has kicked off in Malmo, Sweden as fans were shouted at by pro-Palestinian protesters going into the venue.

The demonstrators, who are calling for a boycott of the competition due to Israel’s Eden Golan being in the contest, are on both sides of entrants queuing on Saturday to go into the Malmo Arena.

Several protesters have also been detained and taken away by police.

They said “free Palestine” and “shame” to those attending as Golan is set to perform alongside the UK entry Olly Alexander and Ireland’s Bambie Thug and 22 other countries.

The Netherlands entry Joost Klein, was already disqualified following a “threating movement” from the singer towards a camerawoman, a Dutch radio and television broadcaster said.

The statement from the Netherlands’ Songfestival X, formerly Twitter, page said Dutch radio and television broadcaster Avrotros found Joost Klein’s disqualification by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) “disproportionate” and said it was “very disappointed”.

In a statement on its official X page it said: “An incident occurred after last Thursday’s performance.

“Against clearly made agreements, Joost was filmed when he had just gotten off stage and had to rush to the greenroom.

“At that moment, Joost repeatedly indicated that he did not want to be filmed.

“This wasn’t respected.

“This led to a threatening movement from Joost towards the camera.

“Joost did not touch the camerawoman.

“This incident was reported, followed by an investigation by the EBU and police.

Sweden Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final
Joost Klein at a press conference (Jessica Gow/AP)

“Yesterday and today we consulted extensively with the EBU and proposed several solutions.

“Nevertheless, the EBU has still decided to disqualify Joost Klein.

“AVROTROS finds the penalty very heavy and disproportionate.

“We stand for good manners – let there be no misunderstanding about that – but in our view, an exclusion order is not proportional to this incident.

“We are very disappointed and upset for the millions of fans who were so excited for tonight.

“What Joost brought to the Netherlands and Europe shouldn’t have ended this way.”

Klein, who entered with the song Europapa, was disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest grand final following a Swedish police investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The EBU said police were investigating a complaint made by a female member of the production crew after an incident following his performance in Thursday night’s semi-final.

“While the legal process takes its course, it would not be appropriate for him to continue in the contest,” it said in a statement.

“We would like to make it clear that, contrary to some media reports and social media speculation, this incident did not involve any other performer or delegation member.

“We maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards inappropriate behaviour at our event and are committed to providing a safe and secure working environment for all staff at the contest.

Sweden Eurovision Song Contest
Joost Klein on stage (Martin Meissner/AP)

“In light of this, Joost Klein’s behaviour towards a team member is deemed in breach of contest rules.”

A follow-up statement said Dutch viewers would still be allowed to vote in the grand final and added that the Dutch jury result is still valid.

The union also said that it will inform all telecommunications partners that the Netherlands is no longer taking part and will endeavour to block the lines for song number five, which was Klein’s performance slot.

The EBU has been approached for comment.