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Eurovision party to celebrate 50th anniversary of ABBA’s song contest win in Brighton canceled amid fears of pro-Palestine protests


The legendary Eurovision party in the city where ABBA won, the song contest was canceled due to fears of protests in Gaza.

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

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

The Eurovision page was targeted by organizations against Israel competing in the song contest.

Hundreds of Eurovision fans usually flock to the stage 2 cinema dressed as their favorite acts or co-finalists.

The Brighton and Hove Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, who had planned demonstrations on Saturday night, welcomed the cancellation.

The Duke of York Cinema in Brighton canceled its iconic Eurovision this year after pro-Palestinian protesters planned demonstrations. (Pictured: The Duke of York Eurovision Party 2015)

Hundreds of Eurovision fans usually flock to the stage 2 cinema dressed as their favorite acts or co-finalists.  (Pictured: The Duke of York Eurovision Party 2015)

Hundreds of Eurovision fans usually flock to the stage 2 cinema dressed as their favorite acts or co-finalists. (Pictured: The Duke of York Eurovision Party 2015)

Picturehouse Cinemas, which runs the Duke of York at Preston Circus, said it had decided to cancel the party on Wednesday.  (Pictured: The Duke of York Eurovision Party 2015)

Picturehouse Cinemas, which runs the Duke of York at Preston Circus, said it had decided to cancel the party on Wednesday. (Pictured: The Duke of York Eurovision Party 2015)

Sweden's ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton with the song Waterloo

Sweden’s ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton with the song Waterloo

In a tweet, Brighton and Hove PSC said: ‘Massive win and respect to the Duke of York Cinema who listened to local opposition and just canceled their big Saturday night Eurovision!!’

One disappointed ticket holder said: “It’s usually a great night but I’d still find it impossible to get past the picket line.

«Russia was not allowed to compete after the invasion of Ukraine, so I don’t understand why Israel was allowed to enter.»

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

In an email sent to all ticket buyers, the cinema chain said: ‘We regret to say that due to concerns for the safety of our staff and customers, the Eurovision screening on Saturday will no longer take place.’

Three other Eurovision parties in Brighton have also been cancelled.

The cancellation of the party comes after Israeli singer Eden Golan’s Eurovision performance was booed and faced with «Free Palestine» chants last night.

Videos posted online showed pro-Palestinian activists interrupting much of her performance as people in the crowd called the atmosphere «awful».

The iconic 1970s pop group remain the show's most famous and successful export after being crowned winners in April 1974

The iconic 1970s 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

ABBA – Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson after winning the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo

Golan sparked controversy after she referenced the kidnapping and killing of Israelis on October 7 by the militant group Hamas in the lyrics of her original Eurovision song, October Rain.

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

The protest during her performance in Malmö, Sweden, took place during the judges’ show, which takes place before the televised program to allow the judges to award scores in time in case there were voting problems later.

Around 20,000 protesters are expected to descend on the city this week to demonstrate against Israel’s inclusion in the annual parade.

Swedish police will get reinforcements from Denmark and Norway and more officers with «heavier weapons» on the streets as security is increased amid fears the protests could lead to riots and an increased threat of terrorism.

Eden Golan was pictured performing her song Hurricane during a rehearsal at Malmö Arena on Wednesday

Eden Golan was pictured performing her song Hurricane during a rehearsal at Malmö Arena on Wednesday

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Footage showed members of the crowd booing and shouting during Golan's performance on Wednesday

Footage showed members of the crowd booing and shouting during Golan’s performance on Wednesday

After a chaotic performance, Golan was ordered by her country’s national security agency to remain in her hotel room while thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated in Malmö demanding her expulsion from the competition.

Meanwhile, Greta Thunberg joined thousands of protesters in a southern Swedish city demonstrating against Israel and competing in a famous song contest.

Protest efforts are also taking place across the UK, with camps being set up at a number of universities.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today ordered university chiefs to crack down on anti-Semitism linked to the Gaza conflict amid fears that UK protests could escalate into more violent scenes seen on US universities.

The prime minister and senior ministers met more than a dozen vice-chancellors and Jewish groups in Downing Street today as institutions came under pressure to crack down on pro-Palestinian protests.

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

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said today that there are «fears» that UK university campuses will become unsafe spaces for students and staff like in the US.

Speaking to vice-chancellors from leading UK universities, Mr Sunak said he expected university leaders to take a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitic incidents and take responsibility for protecting Jewish students, his spokesman said.

«He called on universities to remain bastions of tolerance, where debate is held with respect for others and where every student feels safe,» the spokesman added.

The prime minister and senior ministers met more than a dozen vice-chancellors and Jewish groups in Downing Street today as institutions came under pressure to crack down on pro-Palestinian protests.

The prime minister and senior ministers met more than a dozen vice-chancellors and Jewish groups in Downing Street today as institutions came under pressure to crack down on pro-Palestinian protests.

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Students at a camp at Old College, University of Edinburgh, yesterday protested against the war in Gaza

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Guy Dabby-Joory, head of campaigns for the Union of Jewish Students, said after the meeting outside Number 10 that the comments made by the vice-chancellors at the meeting had been well received.

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

«We hope universities will take their responsibilities much more seriously, we hope they will show zero tolerance for anti-Semitism of any form.»

Mr Dabby-Joory said there had been discussions to ensure any «criminal behaviour» at the protests was met with an appropriate response, adding: «We think actions will speak louder than words.»

Before the meeting, Mr. Sunak warned against «targeting, threatening and attacking students and academics just because they are Jewish.»

Writing in The Times, he said: “We will always protect free speech and the right to protest – and our universities are a natural place for that speech, precisely because they are institutions of learning and inquiry where challenging ideas are rigorously debated.

«But just as importantly, universities have a deep duty to remain bastions of tolerance, where such debate takes place with respect for others – and where every student feels safe and at home, regardless of faith or background.»



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