Roger Waters gigs in Poland cancelled amid Ukraine backlashon September 25, 2022 at 12:23 pm

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The musician was due to play gigs in Poland but faces outrage over his comments on the Ukraine war.

Roger Waters on stage in WashingtonImage source, Reuters

Planned concerts in Poland by Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters have been cancelled amid outrage over the musician’s stance on the Ukraine war.

The concert’s promoter, Live Nation Poland, confirmed the cancellation but gave no reason for it.

The controversy was triggered by an open letter Waters wrote to Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska.

In it, he said, “extreme nationalists” in Ukraine “have set your country on the path to this disastrous war”.

He accused her husband, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, of failing to fulfil his election campaign promises to bring peace to the Donbas region and and made no mention of Russia’s responsibility for the war.

In response, Mrs Zelenska wrote on Twitter that it was Russia which invaded Ukraine and was now destroying its cities and killing civilians. “Roger Waters, you should ask for peace from the president of another country,” she wrote.

Mr Water’s open letter led Łukasz Wantuch, a Krakow city councillor, to urge people to boycott the concerts.

City councillors have drafted a resolution to declare Mr Waters persona non grata, due to be voted on at a session on September 28.

“Taking into account Russia’s criminal attack on Ukraine as well as the increasing number of war crimes committed by Russian soldiers that are coming to light, [the councillors] express outrage at the theses and statements made by Mr Roger Waters in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the resolution states.

Mr Waters, currently on tour in the US, hit back in another Facebook post entitled “Hey Łukasz Wantuch, Leave them kids alone”, referencing the lyrics of the classic Pink Floyd song, Another Brick in the Wall.

He denied an earlier media report that he or his management had cancelled the concerts themselves and accused Mr Wantuch of the “draconian censoring” of his work.

Asked whether the cancellation was connected to Mr Waters’ comments, a venue spokesman for the Tauron Arena in Krakow told the BBC: “No comment.”

The Polish government has been a staunch ally of Mr Zelensky. It has sent hundreds of Soviet-era tanks and other armaments to Ukraine and encouraged the European Union to introduce tougher sanctions against Russia.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the government decided to open Poland’s borders to millions of Ukrainian women and children fleeing the fighting.

According to the United Nations’ Refugee Agency, UNHCR, close to 1.4 million Ukrainians have registered for temporary protection in neighbouring Poland.

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have been put up by Poles in their own homes.

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