Norwegian activists staged a powerful protest outside the country’s national broadcaster, stripping down in the snow to call for Israel to be banned from the Eurovision contest after Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
On Saturday Jan. 27, 30 men reenacted an incident that occurred in Beit Lahia in Gaza on Dec. 7, when Israeli soldiers rounded up and forced more than 100 Palestinian civilian men and boys to strip down to their underwear and tied their hands behind their backs.
The men – bare-chested, blindfolded, with their hands tied behind them – walked up and down outside the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) office in Oslo in 0˚C temperature.
“We are here to highlight Israel’s violations of international law. What we see in Gaza is absolutely horrific,” Rami Samandar, the Palestinian activist in Norway who organized the protest, said.
“It should be needless to point out that the least NRK can do is to advise the European Broadcasting Union to ban Israel from a European peaceful song competition that is supposed to symbolize joy and unity,” Samandar wrote on Instagram. “Violations of international law, dehumanisation, starvation, thirst and accusations of genocide have absolutely nothing to do with Eurovision.”
Samandar said despite the cold weather, so many people volunteered to take part in the protest that they had to turn people down.
Nearly 300 Norwegian singers and musicians have also signed a petition to ban Israel from this year’s Eurovision, condemning Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
NRK and the EBU say that Eurovision should be non-political, but the petition noted that it banned Russia from the song contest after it invaded Ukraine in 2022.
Other Nordic countries including Finland and Iceland are also challenging Israel’s participation in Eurovision this year, which will be hosted by Sweden after it won last year’s contest.
Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive have killed more than 26,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza since Oct. 7.