Belarus disqualified from Eurovision 2021 over ‘political’ song lyrics

Belarus disqualified from Eurovision 2021 over ‘political’ song lyrics

Belarus disqualified from Eurovision 2021 over ‘political’ song lyrics

Belarus disqualified from Eurovision 2021 over ‘political’ song lyrics

Belarus has been disqualified from the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 over controversial song lyrics.

The country had been told to submit a new song two weeks ago, over concerns of political subtext in their first entry.

However, the band Galasy ZMesta (translated to “the voices of the town” or “the voices of reason”) – whose members have openly criticised anti-government protests – were then rejected a second time for the same reason.

Their song “I Will Teach You” sparked a backlash from opposition figures over lyrics such as “I will teach you to toe the line”.

It was feared that the song could legitimise Alexander Lukashenko’s violent suppression of protestors last year, after he claimed victory in a disputed presidential election.

In a statement, the European Broadcasting Union said it had “carefully scrutinised the new entry to assess its eligibility to compete”.

However, a spokesperson said it had been concluded that the new submission was also in breach of the rules of the competition.

“Regrettably, Belarus will not be participating in the 65th Eurovision Song Contest in May,” the statement said.

The BBC reports that Mr Lukashenko himself commented on the controversy, claiming “they are starting to press us on all fronts. Even at Eurovision.”

“We’ll make another song,” he said. “You see that this is all politicised.”

The EU and the US and UK governments agree with the opposition that the August election was rigged, with each placing various sanctions on Belarusian authority figures and entities.

This week, protestors calling for the president’s resignation marched in small groups through the capital, Minsk, marking the first sizeable turnout of demonstrators since last year’s protests.

Riot police set up a heavy presence in the centre of Minsk on Thursday and deployed water cannon.

Videos on social media showed police arresting people holding the red and white flags that are an emblem of the opposition to Mr Lukashenko.

The Viasna human rights organisation said at least 52 people were detained by police.

The Eurovision Song Contest takes place on 22 May in Rotterdam.

Additional reporting by Associated Press


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