Pink Floyd singer Roger Waters said he condemns “fascism” in all its manifestations, after a backlash in Germany over the rockstar’s wearing of a Nazi-style uniform at a Berlin gig, which prompted a police inquiry.
Police in Berlin announced on Friday that they were investigating Waters after photographs of the Pink Floyd co-founder surfaced on social media, showing him on stage last week at the Mercedes-Benz Arena wearing a long, black coat with red armbands and shooting an imitation World War II submachine gun.
According to the French news agency AFP, authorities are looking into “suspicion of incitement to public hatred because the clothing worn on stage could be used to glorify or justify Nazi rule.”
When the police investigation is completed, the matter will be turned over to Berlin prosecutors, according to police.
Felix Klein, the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, has demanded that Waters be held responsible. According to a source in Germany’s Funke media group, Klein said that authorities must be “vigilant” in the aftermath of the event, and music venues should reconsider their connection with the performer.
“Concert organisers should think about whether they want to give conspiracy theorists a platform,” Klein was quoted as saying.
Waters stated in a statement released on his Twitter account on Saturday that his Berlin show had “attracted bad faith attacks from those who want to smear and silence me because they disagree with my political views.”
Waters called efforts to characterise his performance as anything other than anti-Fascist “disingenuous and politically motivated.”
“The elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice, and bigotry in all its forms,” he stated.
“The depiction of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been a feature of my shows since Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ in 1980,” he stated.
“I’ve spent my whole life speaking out against tyranny and injustice wherever I set it… “My parents fought the Nazis in WWII, and my father paid the ultimate price,” he said.
“I will continue to condemn injustice and all those who perpetrate it, regardless of the consequences of the attacks on me.”
Water is a well-known pro-Palestinian activist who has been accused of harbouring anti-Jewish sentiments. During his shows, he has floated an inflatable pig adorned with the Star of David. The artist disputes the anti-Semitism charges, claiming that he was denouncing Israeli policy rather than Jewish individuals.
Waters has recently performed in a number of German towns as part of his “This Is Not A Drill” tour. However, it has sparked intense debate, with some local authorities even attempting, but failing, to prohibit him from performing.
At the same Berlin event, Waters displayed the names of various dead persons on a huge screen, including Anne Frank, the Jewish adolescent who perished in a Nazi death camp.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist killed by Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank last year, was also named.
Abu Akleh’s family has filed an official case with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to seek justice for her killing.
Waters is scheduled to perform his farewell German performance in the western city of Frankfurt on Sunday evening, and protestors intend to gather outside the venue.
The city of Frankfurt tried to halt the event, but a judge decided against them, citing creative freedom.