It has not overshadowed Malmo – Irish fans say Eurovision not about protesting

Irish Eurovision Song Contest fans have said that the competition in Malmo, Sweden has not been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding Israel’s entry.

A pro-Palestinian demonstration from the city’s centre of Stortorget to Molleplatsen saw around 5,000 people, according to Swedish police, calling for a boycott against Israel competing in the final on Saturday evening.

Ireland’s entry Bambie Thug has previously said that they would like Israel not to take part and after the country qualified for the final, the singer said they “cried” with their team.

Speaking outside Malmo Arena, Irish fans Ray, Sorcha, Kevin and Beth all agreed that the contest had not been “overshadowed” by the protests and controversy while talking to the PA news agency.

Sorcha also said: “Eurovision is about uniting everyone together… everyone had a right, I complete understand why why they’re protesting. But that’s not what Eurovision is about really.”

“We try not to be as non political as possible, we’re here for the vibes,” Kevin also said.

“Bring on the best winner,” Beth also said. “This is just a dream come true for us.

“We’ve come a long, long way

“But who wouldn’t want to see this… the best of the best to hear tonight.

“So of course we’re biased, of course we’d like Ireland to win but may the best, beautiful band here tonight and we’re here to support them.”

Earlier in the day, Dutch entrant Joost Klein was disqualified by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) following “inappropriate behaviour” to a member of Eurovision staff.

Dave Adams, a British fan dressed as Klein in a blue suit with pointy shoulder pads, told the AP news agency that he was a “bit gutted” by the disqualification.

Eurovision 2024
Irish entrant Bambie Thug rehearsing Doomsday Blue at the First Rehearsal of the first semi-final at Malmo Arena in Sweden (EBU/Sarah-Louise Bennett/PA)

“It’s just a bit depressing isn’t it?” he said.

“(We’ll) see how it goes today. I’m sure there’ll be a good winner — hopefully anyway.”

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.

Avrotros, the Dutch radio and television broadcaster, defended Klein’s actions saying that he made a “threatening movement” after saying that he would not want to be filmed.

“Joost did not touch the camerawoman,” it also said.

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