Madonna supports gay rights in Russia concert

Thu Aug 9, 2012 5:34pm EDT
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By Liza Dobkina

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Pop star Madonna spoke out for gay rights at a concert on Thursday in St Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin's home town, where activists say a law adopted this year to curb homosexual "propaganda" is discriminatory.

Performing in black lingerie with the words "No Fear" scrawled on her bare back, Madonna urged the audience - most wearing pink wrist bands distributed at the door - to "show your love and appreciation to the gay community".

"We want to fight for the right to be free," she said.

The American singer has turned a two-concert tour into a platform for comment on Putin's Russia.

In Moscow on Tuesday, she told a crowd she prays for the release of three members of the band Pussy Riot, who prosecutors want jailed for three years for their "punk prayer" criticizing Putin on the altar of Russia's main cathedral.

She told Reuters Television that the three women, whose trial verdict is to be announced on August 17, had been treated unfairly and suggested they were victims of censorship.

Madonna had promised to use her St Petersburg show to speak out against legislation adopted by the city in March that imposes fines for spreading homosexual "propaganda" that could "damage the health, moral and spiritual development" of minors.

On her Facebook page, she called the law a "ridiculous atrocity".   Continued...

U.S. singer Madonna performs on stage during her MDNA tour at St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex, August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk