Monday, May 27, 2024

Foreign Office issues travel warning for Sweden ahead of Eurovision

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The Foreign Office has issued a travel warning ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest later this month.

The annual celebration of singing and music is being held in the Swedish city of Malmo between May 4 and May 11 this year.

However, in the build-up to the event, organisers have been put on high alert because of protesters who do not want Israel’s entry to take part.

To reflect increased tensions, the Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to warn Britons about the potential dangers in Malmo later this month.

The Foreign Office said: “Demonstrations in Sweden are usually peaceful. There are likely to be an increased number of protests in Malmö during Eurovision week.

“Where more than one protest happens at the same time, on opposing issues, clashes can occur. Protests can block access routes.

“Avoid demonstrations wherever possible and follow the advice of the local authorities. For more details, see the Swedish Police website.”

The updated travel advice comes after pro-Palestine protesters warned that they plan to stage rallies near the Malmo Arena hosting the contest and Sweden placing itself on high alert.

Last year, Sweden raised its terror threat level to high, the fourth of five levels as the security situation worsened in the country.

This has been reflected by the Foreign Office who warned: “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Sweden. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners.”

Reassuring the public before Eurovision began, the head of police in Malmo Petra Stenkula said: “The security is going to be very rigorous.

“Freedom of expression is strong in Sweden. Now we first have to assess the application that has been received, then we have to see if it gets permission.”

Speaking to the BBC about the security, Malmo’s security director Per-Erik Ebbestahl said: “It’s a huge thing for the city of Malmo. So, of course, it’s important that everything works smoothly. We’re very well prepared.”

The 68th iteration of Eurovision is taking place in Sweden this year after the country won last year’s contest that was hosted in Liverpool because Ukraine, who won in 2022 but were unable to host due to the war.

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