Sting cancels concert in Kazakhstan over repression of oil workers

sting-getty.jpgBritish rocker Sting announced over the weekend that he was canceling his July 4 concert in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan, once he was informed of the situation taking place there regarding oil workers, their union leaders and the counsel and human rights NGOs that are working with them.

The website reads:

Amnesty International recently apprised Sting about the situation in Kazakhstan regarding the repression and crackdown against oil workers, their union leaders, their legal representatives & of the human rights NGOs working with them. In light of this current situation, with the unacceptable treatment being meted to these Kazakh oil/gas workers, their families and legal representation, which is extremely serious and continues to worsen, Amnesty International feel his presence in Astana will be interpreted as an endorsement of the presidents' administration and surely will go against everything he has stood for, while supporting Amnesty and the fight for human rights, for the past 40 years. As a result, Sting has made a decision not to participate in the Astana Day Festival.

"Hunger strikes, imprisoned workers and tens of thousands on strike represents a virtual picket line which I have no intention of crossing," Sting commented. "The Kazakh gas and oil workers and their families need our support and the spotlight of the international media on their situation in the hope of bringing about positive change."

Sting's "Symphonicity" tour, which began in May 2010, continues around Europe and winds down in Brescia, Italy on July 31.

The oil worker protest against their poor treatment and working conditions began six weeks ago. KazMunaiGas EP, an oil company in Kazakhstan, claims 3,000 barrels a day are not produced due to the strike and a spokesperson for the company tells Reuters, "Their demands are groundless and illegal."

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