Ed Sheeran and U2 cancel concerts amid protests
U2 and Ed Sheeran have both cancelled concerts in St Louis, Missouri, citing security concerns with protests in the city.
The musicians scrapped their planned performances because of demonstrations over the acquittal of a white former police officer who shot dead a black man.
Police said they could not guarantee the usual level of security at the two shows because officers were dealing with the “unruly” protest.
Pepper spray has been used to disperse crowds and the house of the city’s mayor had rocks and paint thrown at it after hundreds marched on Friday and Saturday night.
U2 frontman Bono wrote in an Instagram post that he was “deeply saddened at what has happened in St Louis and having to cancel our show”.
He added: “I found myself reading Dr King’s speech from the National Cathedral and asking myself is this 1968 or 2017?”
U2’s website said the band had to pull out of its Saturday night show at The Dome at America’s Center because “it is the only acceptable course of action in the current environment”.
A statement from concert promoters Live Nation added: “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 this size.
“We have also been informed that local crowd security personnel would not be at full capacity.”
Sheeran had also been due to play a sell-out show on Sunday night at the Scottrade Center.
Mayor Lyda Krewson said she was disappointed at the performers’ decision.
Police confirmed 33 people were arrested and 11 officers injured in protests over the case of Anthony Lamar Smith’s death.
Then police officer Jason Stockley was cleared of first-degree murder after judge Timothy Wilson ruled there was not enough evidence against him.
The 36-year-old was arrested in May 2016 and accused of planting a gun in Smith’s car, but he said he had acted in self-defence.
Prosecutors also asked the court to consider a lesser degree of homicide, but they were unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr Stockley’s use of deadly force was not justified in self-defence.