photo by @kardanik
For the first time in their career, U2 play the capital of Russia. Security at the stadium is very strict and the place is full of police and military. In the afternoon, police shut down the Greenpeace, ONE Campaign and Amnesty International stands at the stadium. One Amnesty International activist is reported to have been arrested. Police claim the activists organised an ‘illegal rally’. However, as at every U2 show, these volunteers are actually authorised to set up stands and distribute information. In a Greenpeace blog post about the matter it’s stated “U2’s management are puzzled” by the situation and Bono’s been informed of what went on.
The head of Amnesty International in Russia, Sergei Nikitin, has stated that police detained five volunteers who were distributing leaflets and displaying banners for holding an unsanctioned protest at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium. “I am very sorry about what happened … it overshadowed the concert,” Nikitin said. The activists were later released without charge.
It rained quite hard hard during the show which is attended by Mikhail Gorbachev, “a great hero of mine”, Bono says, “I’ve known him for over 10 years.” Most of the new songs were dropped from the set, except Return of the Stingray guitar and the band delighted the crowd by playing Knocking on Heaven’s Door with Russian rockstar Yuri Shevchuk. Shevchuk has become a significant figure in Russia’s opposition movement since he delivered a rare public rebuke to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in May.
Reports from fans inside the GA area say Russian police wouldn’t allow the fans to leave the GA area and clashed with U2 security. Fans claim Russian soldiers hindered U2 security when they wanted to move the barricades to let fans out. Other people stepped in to separate Russian solders and U2 security.
Unprecedented security measures at U2 concert