Sweden “On Terror Level Four” As Security Is Tightened A Week Before Eurovision Song Contest

Sweden is on high alert and security is being tightened in its third largest city Malmo, ahead of next week’s Eurovision Song Contest.

100,000 extra visitors expected to the city over the week of festivities. BBC News quotes Malmo police chief Petra Stenkula, who said the whole country was already “on a terror level of four out of five.”

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The website reports that Malmo will see one of the country’s biggest ever policing efforts, with extra personnel drafted in from across Sweden, as well as neighbouring Denmark and Norway. Swedish police are normally armed. And it cites a Swedish internal police report which described the country as “a priority target for violent jihadist groups,” and cited risks of unrest, cyber attacks and broadcast disruption.

Large demonstrations are scheduled outside the venue, to be attended by those slamming Israel’s participation this year, in context of the nation’s actions in Gaza.

This follows months of controversy ahead of what has become an unprecedently politically charged Contest. Israel’s entry Eden Golan was forced to change her song lyrics and title, after the original entry was deemed too political by the European Broadcasting Union.

Sweden is hosting the world’s largest live music event after artist Loreen won last year in Liverpool, UK. 1000 Swedish musicians signed an open letter earlier this year urging Israel’s exclusion, and artists on both sides of the Israel-Gaza conflict have spoken out.

UK entry Olly Alexander previously signed a petition demanding Israel’s attacks on Gaza be stopped, and in March he wrote on social media why he had decided to participate in the Contest, organisations asking him publicly to boycott in response to Israel’s participation.

Alexander wrote on X (formerly Twitter):

“As a participant I’ve taken a lot of time to deliberate over what to do and the options available to me. It is my current belief that removing myself from the contest wouldn’t bring us any closer to our shared goal.”

He added that he had discussed the dilemma with entries from other nations, and they had come to the same conclusion.

Alexander added that he supported all actions demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, the return of Israeli hostages and a journey towards peace:

“I hope and pray that our calls are answered and there is an end to the atrocities we are seeing taking place in Gaza.”

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