Protests erupt over Israel's participation in Eurovision Song Contest

Security has been tightened at the venue of the Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden amid protests over Israel's participation.

Israeli singer Eden Golan has advanced to Saturday's final, this year held in Malmo.

The event is Europe's largest song contest.

Reuters news agency says thousands of people gathered in the city on Thursday to protest Israel's offensive in Gaza. They reportedly included climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The protesters carried a banner saying, "Stop using Eurovision to whitewash the Israeli crimes."

One protestor said the organizers should have disqualified Israel, like they did with Russia in light of the invasion of Ukraine. She said, "It is not true that the Eurovision is not political."

The Israeli singer has told reporters that it is an honor to represent her country.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video message wishing her success, prompting more anger among the protestors.