Polish protesters rage as Madonna gig clashes with Warsaw Uprising commemoration
Madonna’s managers were unaware of the date’s significance.
Religious groups, politicians and members of the public protested a performance by Madonna in Poland’s that clashed with the commemoration of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.
The international pop icon was set to appear this week in a large stadium in Warsaw just hours after sirens were sounded in the capital marking a moment of silence in honor of the 68th anniversary of the revolt against Nazi rule, in which 16,000 fighters died in battle and 200,000 civilians were murdered in Nazi reprisals. Just as Madonna was due to take to the stage at 9:30 P.M., Catholic churches were to begin a prayer in honor of the slain.
Some 50,000 irate Poles sent letters of protest against the Madonna concert. Promotional posters adorning the city days before the show were sprayed with black paint and symbols of the uprising.
“People who have no love for the motherland are urging our youth to go to watch dances by half-nude women instead of paying their respects to heroic warriors,” said parliament members from the right-wing opposition party Law and Justice (PIS).
Meantime, members of the Catholic youth association, under the direction of local priests, held a mass vigil in Warsaw, deriding the Madonna concert as being “in opposition to sacred Christian values,” and as “a profane desecration of the faith of the Polish people. The concert’s goal is to ridicule God and our religion.”
Madonna’s managers, who planned the concert months ago, were not aware of the date’s significance and the likely scandal the show would cause. When Madonna’s entourage reached Poland, her spokespeople promised that the performer would honor the memory of the Warsaw fighters onstage.
The concert was virtually sold out in advance, and hours before the show people streamed toward the venue and police closed some streets to private vehicles.