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24.04.2024.

11:37

Special measures during Eurovision: "High threat level"

Sweden announced strengthened security measures at Eurovision due to planned protests provoked by Israel's participation and the new geopolitical situation since Sweden's entry into NATO.

Izvor: Tanjug

Special measures during Eurovision: "High threat level"
' EPA-EFE/Johan Nilsson/TT SWEDEN OUT

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The competition, the world's largest of its kind, takes place in Malmö from May 7 to 11 and is expected to attract 100,000 visitors to Sweden's third-largest city, which has a large Muslim population, Reuters reported.

Organizers plan to pay special tribute to the Swedish pop group ABBA, who won Eurovision with the song "Waterloo" 50 years ago.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the competition, has not succumbed to calls for Israel to be excluded because of the war in Gaza.

The focus is expected to be on Israeli contestant Eden Golan and her song "Hurricane", as a number of pro-Palestinian protests are planned in Malmö.

Israel was allowed to compete after agreeing to change the lyrics of its original song "October Rains" which the EBU said referred to the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas.

At bookmakers, the Swiss competitor Nemo is the favorite to win this year, followed by Baby Lasagna from Croatia, Jost Klein from the Netherlands and Angelina Mango from Italy.

Visitors from 89 countries expected in Malmö will have to go through security checks, like those at airports, throughout the city.

"There is a high level of threat combined with many people," said Per-Erik Ebbestahl, director of Public Safety and Security of the City of Malmö.

Organizers face the risk of protests escalating into violence, increased threats of terrorism in the country and heightened tensions with Russia following Sweden's NATO membership. Gang crime in Sweden's biggest cities, including Malmö, has also been a problem for years, due to the drug trade. Eurovision starts on May 7 with the first semi-final, followed two days later by the second semi-final and the final on Saturday, May 11.

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