Malmo security officials say all set for Eurovision contest

Swedish officials say Israelis would be safe walking with flags on city streets; Malmo forces to be bolstered by security from Denmark and Norway with special measures to secure Eurovision venues in place

Roy Alman|
Malmo city officials announced on Wednesday they are prepared for next month's Eurovision Song Contest with enhanced security measures.
Speaking at a press conference, they said that their security forces, bolstered by personnel from Denmark and Norway, were adequately armed to fulfill their mission.
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עדן גולן
עדן גולן
Eden Golan, Israel's representative to the Eurovision Song Contest
(Photo: Shmulik Davidpor)
"The Eurovision this year takes place in the shadow of problematic times," the officials said.
"We have never had this many wars and ongoing conflicts," Malmo's chief security officer and the local commander of the Eurovision security detail said.
"We have a war in Europe and a conflict between Israel and the Hamas in Gaza. Israel's participation has evoked protests as the war enters its seventh month. The city, which is home to a large population originating in Palestine, and the protests, are adding a new dimension. This is a security challenge but we in Malmo consider it important that as many people enjoy and celebrate Eurovision as possible. We must respect those who consider the events a celebration and those who wish to express their protests."
The officials said they were aware of bad actors planning to attend the event. "Any expressions of violence and threats would not be tolerated," they said. "We know there is concern among visitors due to the global security situation. We are working in full cooperation with all security organizations and have complete faith in them. We are cooperating with the Liverpool police, which was responsible for security last year, and are also prepared for possible cyberattacks."
At least six groups have already requested permits to demonstrate against Israel's participation in the competition, the officials said.
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(Photo: Photo Stock Alamy / Jedraszak Filip)
Malmo municipality announced that visitors will not be allowed to bring in bags with them entering Eurovision events and venues, and there will be an increased police presence.
"You will see police armed with their standard weapons but also with additional means," the officials said, adding they were more concerned that people may choose to stay away.
"In Malmo, we always work to increase security, not only during the Eurovision Song Contest, an official said in response to a Ynet inquiry. "We attach great importance to our residents and visitors feeling safe and secure. The city and the Swedish public broadcaster, as well as the police and all others involved, are working together to ensure a safe event."
Israel's song, Hurricane

Will supporters of Israel be able to walk the streets carrying Israeli flags? "Yes. Israelis will be able to carry flags and walk safely on the streets of Malmo."
How are you preparing for protests and disruptions? "It is likely that protests and counter-protests will take place. Everyone in Sweden has rights under the constitution, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom to demonstrate. That means that anyone can express their opinions and participate in public events. It is up to the police to evaluate and respond to events as needed. We will employ security measures across the city with a focus on the central Eurovision venues."
Is there cooperation with Israeli security officials? "Yes, we are coordinating with the security detail of several of the Eurovision delegations, including the Israelis."
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