Anti-Israel protesters briefly interrupted a Eurovision song contest qualifying round in France Saturday, as Israeli singer Netta Barzilai stood on stage.
A broadcast of the concert showed four or five protesters rush the stage, with at least one person holding a sign reading “No to Eurovision 2019 in Israel,” before being swiftly escorted away.
The incident occurred as the host was introducing semi-finalists to represent France at the annual song contest, to be held in Tel Aviv in May, with Barzilai standing beside him.
Barzilai, whose victory in the 2018 contest gave Israel hosting rights, performed her winning song “Toy,” during the Paris show.
“Five people who came to spread darkness and not speak about music and love won’t bother me on a night like this,” Barzilai said afterward, according to Israel’s Channel 13 news.
The protesters were part of a local branch of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, according to the French 20 Minutes news site. Organizers said they were removed from the venue and would likely not be charged, according to the outlet.
In a statement, France 2, which aired the concert and sponsor’s France’s participation in the contest, defended its decision to participate, saying that “music has no borders.”
The Eurovision contest is expected to draw tens of thousands of people and massive media attention to Israel. Anti-Israel protesters have zeroed in on the contest as a target for their boycott demands.