TEL AVIV (Reuters) – As singers made last-minute preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv on Saturday, Israeli police threw a high-security cordon around the venue to head off attacks, or protests by boycotters who have urged fans to shun the event.
Armed police stood at elevated positions around the Expo Tel Aviv complex, with patrol cars and police motorcyclists at junctions as fans passed through metal detectors and multiple security checks. Farther south, near Jaffa, an area of beach was sealed off for the “Eurovision Village” spectators pavilion.
Singing - Competition - Focus - Calls - Year
The 41-country international singing competition has been a focus of pro-Palestinian calls to stay away from this year’s event, in protest against Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza.
No finalists or broadcasters have pulled out, but the organizers also have security inside the hall in case activists try to disrupt the live televised final on Saturday night or performers hold an on-stage protest.
Israel - Calls - Competition - Israel - Boycott
Israel says the calls to boycott the competition because it is being held in Israel are discriminatory and anti-Semitic, which the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement denies.
The Netherlands’ Duncan Laurence is the bookies’ favorite to win the glass microphone trophy, sitting at 3/4 according to Oddschecker on Saturday.
Australia - Entry - Favorites - List - Stage
Australia’s entry has also crept up the favorites list, helped by a spectacular stage show performed by Kate Miller-Heidke in a full ball gown atop a moving pole.
Pop star Madonna arrived earlier in the week, ahead of her planned guest performance. Defending her decision to take part, the 60-year-old singer issued a statement saying she would always speak up to defend human rights, and that she hoped to see “a new path...
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