HomeTechAmid terror threats and Eurovision tension, Sweden has made a drastic move

Amid terror threats and Eurovision tension, Sweden has made a drastic move

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Sweden is taking unprecedented steps in patrolling a city of more than a quarter of a million people as Eurovision tensions reach fever pitch (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

‘Smile: You’re on CCTV’ is a common sign around city centres, where use of cameras has been widespread for years.

But surveillance got a step more invasive this week, as police announced they have sent up drones to patrol over a quarter of a million people.

Malmo Police announced they will be using flying cameras to record and monitor Sweden’s third largest city for a period spanning nine days.

This covers the time the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 is taking place, running from May 4 until May 13.

A map indicating the area affected shows the drones will swoop over the whole city, and not just the limited area of the Malmö Arena where the contest will take place.

The terror threat level in Sweden is rated at four points out of five, which police say is not related to the contest but means it could be at risk.

Announcing the use of drones, police said their ‘mission is to make sure that the event can be carried out safely and securely’.



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Map showing the area of Malmo that will be surveyed by drones (Picture: Swedish Police)
Police patrol at the Eurovision Village ahead of the first semi-final yesterday (Picture: AP)

They said: ‘The cameras will provide the Police with an up-to-date situational picture which will enable a quick response to any ongoing criminal acts.

‘The footage captured by the cameras will also be of use to the Police when investigating and prosecuting individuals who commit criminal offences.’

There has already been controversy over this year’s contest, as Israel will be competing which some say should not be allowed due to the ongoing war in Gaza, estimated to have killed 35,000 people in Palestine, and injured a further 77,000.

Protesters say that Israel should be excluded in the same way that Russia was after the invasion of Ukraine.

Organisers have insisted that the contest is non-political, telling performers to leave their personal views at home.

Even fans have been included in this, with audience members warned not to bring Palestinian flags or symbols to the event or bags and told there will be ‘vigorous security checks’.

But these warnings have gone unheeded. Footage posted to social media by attendees at the Eurovision’s Jury Show on Wednesday night offer glimpses of a chaotic scene.

Videos shared on X capture the crowd booing and chanting ‘Free Palestine’ throughout Eden Golan’s performance for Israel, almost drowning the singer out entirely.

It comes as Ireland’s entry Bambie Thug revealed they were asked to change their face paint due to its political messaging.

Writing on their body using a medieval alphabet used to write early Irish langauge translated to ‘ceasefire’, referring to the war between Israel and Hamas.

Protests are expected when Israel’s Eden Golan performs Hurricane at the second semi-final tomorrow.

Her song had initially been called October Rain, an apparent reference to the Hamas attacks on Israel last year, but was changed after objections from organisers.

Police keep watch at a pro-Palestine protest in Malmo today (Picture: AP)

There have been calls for performers to boycott the event over Israel’s participation.

In a shared statement, the UK’s entry Olly Alexander, and Bambie joined entrants from Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Switzerland, Denmark, Lithuania and Finland calling for an ‘immediate and lasting ceasefire, and the safe return of all hostages’.

They said they do ‘not feel comfortable being silent’ and ‘stand united against all forms of hate, including antisemitism and Islamophobia.’

It continued: ‘We firmly believe in the unifying power of music, enabling people to transcend differences and foster meaningful conversations and connections.

‘We feel it is our duty to create and uphold this space, with a strong hope that it will inspire greater compassion and empathy.’

Terrorism researcher Hans Brun told Swedish publication SVT there was a ‘complex threat picture’, with Sweden a priority target for jihadists after high profile burnings of the Quran last August.

He said: ‘With the increased threat picture we have, it is a problem generally speaking with this type of large event that draws a large audience, there is a security aspect that cannot be neglected.’

The security effort is set to be one of the country’s biggest ever, and Mr Brun said that while people should feel confident to enjoy themselves, they should remain aware and ‘If you see something strange, you should contact the authorities’.


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