BAKU - Sweden's Loreen won the Eurovision Song Contest in Azerbaijan on Sunday before an international TV audience of 100 million, days after angering Azeri authorities by meeting rights activists critical of the host country's human rights record.
Opposition groups have used the Eurovision spotlight, intended by Azerbaijan to promote the country as a destination for tourism and business, to demand democracy and the resignation of the government.
Dozens of peaceful protesters have been arrested this month in the Caspian coastal capital, Baku. Activists say some buildings in the centre of the city were torn down to make way for the Eurovision arena and residents were forcibly evicted without proper compensation.
The 28-year-old won with the song "Euphoria" in the annual competition of 42 countries, delighting viewers and the contest's professional judges and dancing barefoot as she sang.