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Show must go on as Jedward ignore protest fears for final

ARMED bodyguards will accompany Jedward to Eurovision tonight amid fears of clashes between human rights demonstrators and police.

Security has been ramped up dramatically in Baku ahead of tonight's Eurovision grand final amid heightened tensions between both sides.

A number of locals were arrested earlier this week, after they staged an angry protest outside a TV station.

Human rights demonstrators have been using the contest as a global platform to air their concerns on the issue.

Baku police forces have now hiked up security to avoid a mass demonstration which authorities there fear could negatively affect the globally screened contest.

But as the act with the biggest profile in the competition, the Grimes brothers and their team are not being phased by the tensions between activists and the government reach climactic heights.

They put on a stunning performance at the final rehearsal last night -- showing no signs of nerves.

Tonight brings to an end a hectic week for the boys who have captured even more fans for their particular style.

But the image of the host country is thought to have suffered despite the organisers' attempts to impress.

BBC's Panorama special, Eurovision's Dirty Secret, slammed President Ilham Aliyev and alleged corruption surrounding the singing contest in the ex-Soviet state.

An insider told the Herald that city officials have "really been trying to impress visitors" and are nervous the unrest is placing an extremely negative light on Azerbaijan.

Precautionary measures have been put in place to make sure our boys arrive to the arena safely.

"Everyone is very tense at the moment. Security has heightened significantly, there are a lot of undercover police in the park opposite Jedward's hotel and about a dozen extra guards have been placed outside the building doors.

"There'll be armed bodyguards with them wherever they go during the day and there's also armed personnel travelling in a car in front of the Jedward bus when we go to rehearsals and then to the actual show tonight."

Up to a dozen police will escort the Lucan twins from their bus into the venue itself to shield them.

Organisers have also ordered the closing of the roads surrounding the arena and there will be police positioned every 20 yards for a three-mile radius.

"The boys are being well looked after and they know that the security is so tight, but some of their team couldn't even get into the arena yesterday during rehearsals," a source divulged.

labutler@herald.ie


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