Madonna Hands Out Gay Rights Wristbands At Russian Concert
Madonna handed out pink wristbands to fans at her concert in Russia on Thursday to support gay rights in the country.
The Material Girl took her shows to Russia this week as part of her MDNA world tour and caused controversy in Moscow on Tuesday night by backing jailed female rockers Pussy Riot, who have been on trial there this month. They are accused of playing a protest song against Russian President Vladimir Putin in a church in February.
She moved on to St. Petersburg on Thursday and stepped up her campaigning by throwing her support behind gay rights in the notoriously conservative city, where residents face fines for promoting homosexuality to minors.
In a post on her Facebook.com page prior to the show, fans were told they would be given a pink wristband to wear in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
The message read, "A pink wristband will be available to anyone that wants to support the LGBT community in St. Petersburg. The wristband will be part of the show - be prepared to raise your arm in support!"
During the concert, Madonna stripped off to just a black bra to reveal the words "No fear!" written on her back and she urged the crowd to hold their bracelets high, declaring, "If you are with me, I wanna see your pink armband. If you are with me, raise your arm and show your love and appreciation for the gay community. Are you with me?"
Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Russia had issued a security warning to American fans planning to attend the show about a possible threat of physical violence at the Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex.
Local authorities deployed 300 police officers to the venue to ensure the safety of concert goers.