Eurovision: French act calls for peace and Norwegian jury spokesperson resigns

During the dress rehearsals, Palestinian flags, which have been banned, were seen in the audience.

French Eurovision contestant Slimane (Sarah Louise Bennett/EBU)
French Eurovision contestant Slimane (Sarah Louise Bennett/EBU)

The Eurovision Song Contest has been plunged into further controversy following a participant calling for peace during their performance and a Norwegian jury spokesperson resigning.

On Saturday, during the dress rehearsals at the Malmo Arena in Sweden, French contestant Slimane stopped singing Mon Amour to call for peace amid the war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip.

There have been multiple calls to boycott the competition over Israel’s participation with singer Eden Golan, who is due to perform her song Hurricane on Saturday evening.

There have been large protests in the centre of the city in response.

Slimane told the audience: “Everybody, I just need to say something. Sorry I don’t speak English very well but when I was a child I dreamed about music, I dreamed about this dream, to be a singer and to sing peace here.

“Every artist here wants to sing about love and sing about peace.

“We need to be united by music yes, but with love for peace. United by music yes, but with love for peace. Thank you so much, thank you Europe.”

Also during the show, Palestinian flags – which had been banned by the organisers the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) – had been seen in the audience.

Ahead of the grand final Alessandra Mele posted to Instagram to say she will no longer be the person who announces the points awarded by Norway during Eurovision.

Palestinian flags held up in the crowd (Andreas Hillergren/AP)
Palestinian flags held up in the crowd (Andreas Hillergren/AP) (Andreas Hillergren/AP)

In a video the former Eurovision contestant said: “Even though I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to do so, I’ve taken the decision to withdraw. United by music – Eurovision’s motto is the reason why the music unites people, brings them together.

“But right now, those words are just empty words.

“There is a genocide going on and I’m asking you all to please open up your eyes, open up your heart, let love lead you to the truth.

“It’s right in front of you. Free Palestine.”

The grand final will now have 25 performers rather than 26 after Dutch act Joost Klein was disqualified following a Swedish police investigation into allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has been approached for comment.