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Eurovision party celebrating 50th anniversary of ABBA’s Brighton song contest victory canceled amid fears of pro-Palestinian protest

  • Sweden’s ABBA won Eurovision 1974 in Brighton with their song Waterloo.
  • Brighton and Hove’s Palestine solidarity campaign welcomed the cancellation
  • Israeli singer Eden Golan’s Eurovision performance was booed last night



A legendary Eurovision night in the city where ABBA won the song competition has been canceled due to fears of protests in Gaza.

Brighton’s party to mark the 50th anniversary of the victory at Waterloo has been canceled after pro-Palestinian protesters planned to demonstrate.

Sweden’s ABBA won Eurovision 1974 in Brighton with their song Waterloo, but ahead of this year’s celebrations the Duke of York cinema announced it had to cancel screening of the 2024 final due to security concerns.

The Eurovision party has been targeted by anti-Israeli organizations participating in the song contest.

Hundreds of Eurovision fans usually flock to the Grade 2 listed cinema, dressed as their favorite artists or as supporting finalists.

The Brighton and Hove Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, which planned to hold a picket on Saturday evening, welcomed the cancellation.

The Duke of York cinema, Brighton, canceled its famous Eurovision night this year after pro-Palestinian protesters planned to demonstrate. (Pictured: The Duke of York’s Eurovision Party 2015)
Hundreds of Eurovision fans usually flock to the Grade 2 listed cinema, dressed as their favorite artists or as supporting finalists. (Pictured: The Duke of York’s Eurovision Party 2015)
Picturehouse Cinemas, which runs the Duke of York at Preston Circus, said it had made the decision to cancel the party on Wednesday. (Pictured: The Duke of York’s Eurovision Party 2015)
Sweden’s ABBA won Eurovision 1974 in Brighton with their song Waterloo.

In a tweet, Brighton and Hove PSC said: “Massive win and respect for the Duke of York cinema who listened to local opposition and just canceled their big Eurovision event on Saturday night!! »

One disappointed ticket holder said: “It’s usually a great night, but it would have been impossible for me to cross the picket line anyway.

“Russia was not allowed to compete after invading Ukraine, so I don’t understand why Israel was allowed in.”

Picturehouse Cinemas, which runs the Duke of York at Preston Circus, said it had made the decision to cancel the party on Wednesday.

In an email sent to all ticket buyers, the cinema chain said: “We are sorry to announce that due to safety concerns for our staff and customers, the Eurovision screening will not be held. will no longer take place on Saturday.”

Three other Eurovision nights at Brighton venues have also been cancelled.

The party’s cancellation comes after Israeli singer Eden Golan’s Eurovision performance was booed and met with chants of “Free Palestine” last night.

Videos posted online showed pro-Palestinian activists interrupting most of his performance, as people in the crowd described the atmosphere as “horrible.”

The iconic ’70s pop group remains the show’s most famous and successful export after being crowned winners in April 1974.
ABBA – Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo

Golan caused a wave of controversy after referencing the October 7 kidnapping and killing of Israelis by militant group Hamas in the lyrics of his original Eurovision song, October Rain.

This was later replaced by Hurricane, a moving and heartfelt track which was later approved by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the event.

The protest during his performance in Malmö, Sweden, took place during the jury show, which takes place before the television program to allow jurors to give their scores earlier in case there are problems with the voting later.

Around 20,000 demonstrators are expected to descend on the city this week to protest Israel’s inclusion in the annual spectacle.

Swedish police will receive reinforcements from Denmark and Norway, and there will be more officers on the streets carrying “heavier weapons” as security is tightened, amid fears the protests could lead to unrest and an increased threat of terrorism.

Eden Golan pictured performing her song Hurricane during a rehearsal at the Malmo Arena on Wednesday
Footage showed members of the crowd booing and shouting during Golan’s performance on Wednesday evening.

Following the chaotic performance, Golan was ordered by his country’s national security agency to stay in his hotel room as thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators demonstrated in Malmö, calling for his exclusion from the competition.

Meanwhile, Greta Thunberg joined the thousands of demonstrators in this southern Swedish city demonstrating against Israel by taking part in the famous song contest.

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Protest efforts also took place across the UK, with encampments set up at several universities.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today ordered university officials to crack down on anti-Semitism linked to the conflict in Gaza, fearing that British protests could escalate into more violent scenes like those seen on US campuses.

The Prime Minister and senior ministers met more than a dozen vice-chancellors and Jewish groups at Downing Street today, as institutions came under pressure to act against pro-Palestinian protests.

Student encampments have been set up at more than a dozen UK universities against the war in Gaza, including at prestigious schools such as Cambridge and Oxford.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan today said there was a “fear” that university campuses across the UK could become unsafe spaces for students and staff, like in the United States.

Mr Sunak told the discussion with vice-chancellors of Britain’s leading universities that he expected university leaders to take a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitic incidents and take responsibility for protecting Jewish students , declared his spokesperson.

“He called on universities to remain bastions of tolerance where debates take place with respect for others and where every student feels safe,” added the spokesperson.

The Prime Minister and senior ministers met more than a dozen vice-chancellors and Jewish groups at Downing Street today, as institutions came under pressure to act against pro-Palestinian protests.
Students at an encampment at Edinburgh University’s Old College yesterday protesting against the war in Gaza

Speaking to No10 after the meeting, Guy Dabby-Joory, head of campaigns at the Jewish Students’ Union, said the comments made by the vice-chancellors at the meeting had been well received.

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He said: “Every vice-chancellor has understood that there is a huge problem of anti-Semitism on campus, which Jewish students have been fighting for seven months.

“We hope that universities will take their duties much more seriously, we hope that they will show zero tolerance towards any form of anti-Semitism.”

Mr Dabby-Joory said discussions had taken place to ensure any “criminal behavior” during the protests would be responded to appropriately, adding: “We believe actions will speak louder than words.”

Before the meeting, Mr Sunak warned of “students and university staff being targeted, threatened and attacked simply because they are Jewish”.

Writing for The Times, he said: “We will always protect free speech and the right to protest – and our universities are a natural place for this expression, precisely because they are institutions of learning and exploration where thought-provoking ideas are rigorously debated.

“But it is equally important that universities have a profound duty to remain bastions of tolerance, where debates take place with respect for others – and where every student feels safe and at home, whatever their faith or faith. His origin.”