Police in Moscow arrested activists before U2’s first Russian gig in Moscow last night. It is understood that at least two activists from the human rights group Amnesty International were arrested while distributing flyers outside the Luzhniki stadium prior to the bands performance.
A police spokesperson said they did not have proper authorization to hand out flyers at the concert.
Responding to the arrest Sergei Nikitin, head of Amnesty in Russia, said “Our activists were supposed to take part in the procession, but after the police shut down our stands, the concert organizers told us we weren’t taking part in the event”.
He added, “This is just more proof of civil rights violations in Russia. There was fear in the eyes of the policemen who were dealing with us yesterday. The authorities are afraid of their own people.”
During the concert U2’s front man Bono invited anti-Kremlin activist Yuri Shevchuk on stage to perform a rendition of Bob Dylan’s classic ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’. “You might know this man,” Bono said to the crowd before inviting the activist on stage.
The concert was part of the European leg of the bands 360 world tour. During the bands visit to Moscow Bono also met with Russian President Dmirty Medvedev.