U2 has announced the cancellation of their scheduled concert this weekend in St. Louis. The cancellation comes hot on the heels of increasing violence following protests that swiftly turned into riots. The protests were initially a reaction to the acquittal of a police officer charged with first-degree murder, an incident that culminated in the fatal shooting of an African-American man. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief has announced that “standard protection” and basic city services for the audience couldn’t be guaranteed.
The protests have resulted in 10 officers injured so far. Twenty-three arrests were made shortly after Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson ruled that Officer Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the jury-free bench trial.
“We have been informed by the St. Louis Police Department that they are not in a position to provide the standard protection for our audience as would be expected for an event of this size,” the band said in a joint statement with tour promoter Live Nation published on U2’s website.
“We have also been informed that local crowd security personnel would not be at full capacity. In light of this information, we cannot in good conscience risk our fans’ safety by proceeding with tonight’s concert. As much as we regret having to cancel, we feel it is the only acceptable course of action in the current environment.”
Ed Sheeran has announced that he, too, will join U2 in canceling his scheduled St. Louis concert this weekend over fears that attendees’ lives could be put in danger. Three hundred protesters shut down a mall, injured officers report broken jaws and dislocated shoulders, stashed caches of guns have been found, and dumpsters and even houses were set on fire. Even the mayor’s house was raided, and these are just highlights of the madness to date. Amid all the uncertainty. PeaceFest 2017 at Harris Stowe State University was postponed and rescheduled. Science Uncorked, presented by the St. Louis Science Center that was also set for Saturday night, has been postponed, but not rescheduled as of yet. Shakespeare in the Streets in front of the St. Louis Public Library has also been postponed due to concerns for safety.
Those who purchased tickets for the U2 and Ed Sheeran concerts are able to claim a refund either online or at the venue or place of purchase. Mayor Lyda Krewson has praised police efforts, claiming the officers have been “very tolerant” and “used great restraint” despite “incidents.”
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]