German police have opened an investigation into alleged provocations at a recent concert by former Pink Floyd rock band member Roger Waters, who notably sported an outfit reminiscent of an SS officer.
“We are investigating suspicions of incitement to hatred because the clothes worn on stage are likely to glorify or justify the National Socialist regime and disturb the public peace”said Friday, May 26, to Agence France-Presse, a spokesperson for the Berlin police, Martin Halweg.
Images shared on social media notably show Waters wearing a long black coat and red armbands during a concert on May 17 on the stage of the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin.
Several German and Israeli media also refer to the inscriptions, in red letters on a screen during the concert, of the names of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp, and Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist from the Al-Jazeera channel killed in an Israeli raid in May 2022. A parallel which, for critics, relates to the horror of the Holocaust.
The memory of Anne Frank “sullied”
“Unfortunately, the legal proceedings against him have so far turned in his favor – despite him spreading anti-Semitism and being suspected of incitement to hatred”, reacted the delegate for the fight against anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, to the newspapers of the Funke group. But “I appeal to the vigilance of the police and justice and I encourage other denunciations”adds Mr. Klein.
“We are investigating and once the procedure is completed, we will forward it to the public prosecutor for a final legal assessment”for his part, said the police spokesperson, stressing that it would be up to the prosecution to initiate any proceedings.
The concert drew heavy criticism in Israel. The Israeli Foreign Ministry thus criticized Waters on Wednesday for having “stained the memory of Anne Frank and the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust”.
“Waters wants to compare Israel to the Nazis”. He is “one of the greatest detractors of the Jews of our time”, reacted on TwitterIsraeli Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Danny Danon.
A “statement of opposition to fascism, injustice and bigotry”, according to Waters
Rogers Waters, 79, is often accused of holding anti-Jewish views. He floated an inflatable pig emblazoned with the Star of David at his concerts. The legendary singer Another Brick In The Wall denies accusations of anti-Semitism, saying he protests against Israeli policies and not against the Jewish people.
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He reacted on Friday on Twitter by posting a message in which he castigates the critics who have targeted him. “My recent performance in Berlin has prompted attacks of bad faith from those who want to smear me and silence me because they disagree with my political views and moral principles”he says.
“The elements of my show that have been questioned are very clearly a statement of opposition to fascism, injustice and bigotry in all its forms”he explains, adding that he spent ” all [s]to life [s]’stand up against authoritarianism and oppression’ and “the representation of an unbalanced fascist demagogue is part of [s]on spectacle depuis “The Wall” de Pink Floyd en 1980 ».
“My parents fought the Nazis in World War II, my father paying the ultimate price”he recalls, his father, a lieutenant in the British army, having died during a military operation in 1944.
Demonstration planned in Frankfurt
Waters has distinguished himself in recent years by taking controversial positions, particularly on the war in Ukraine. “It is not true that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was unprovoked”had notably launched the ex-Pink Floyd, on February 8, before the UN Security Council, where he had been invited by Russia to speak.
He also defends actions to boycott Israeli products in the name of defending the Palestinian cause.
Frankfurt authorities canceled a concert by the British singer on May 28, but the decision was overturned by an administrative court in the name of freedom of expression. A demonstration against a new Roger Waters concert in Germany, Sunday in Frankfurt, is also planned at the call of the local Jewish community and the Greens party in particular.
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