July 7, 2009 / 11:21 AM / 10 years ago

Date of Madonna's Polish concert debut riles Walesa

GDANSK, Poland (Reuters Life!) - Lech Walesa, ex-leader of Poland’s anti-communist Solidarity trade union, condemned as a “Satanic provocation” on Tuesday plans by pop diva Madonna to stage a concert in Warsaw on a day celebrating the Virgin Mary.

Madonna has upset many believers in devoutly Roman Catholic Poland by choosing to make her Polish debut on August 15, when Christians mark Mary’s ascension to heaven.

“This looks like a Satanic provocation,” said Walesa, who for most of his life has worn a picture of the Virgin Mary on his lapel.

“I wear her portrait on my chest, so it’s understandable I’m not happy that the concert will take place on this day,” Walesa told Reuters, suggesting that Madonna should move the date.

“I have nothing against Madonna, although she has made plenty of provocations in the past,” he added.

Madonna, whose very name signifies the Virgin Mary, has often annoyed conservative Christians, kissing an actor playing Jesus in one of her videos and staging a crucifixion scene in her last world tour.

Walesa led the Solidarity union that toppled Poland’s communist regime two decades ago and then served as its president from 1990 to 1995.

Madonna’s spokeswoman was not immediately available. Live Nation, the tour’s organizer, declined to comment.

Reporting by Malgorzata Rakowiec and Chris Borowski, editing by Paul Casciato

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