St Petersburg: Madonna responds to hate with pink wristbands

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Madonna has announced on Facebook that she plans to hand out pink wristbands in a sign of support for St Petersburg’s LGBT community.

The pop icon’s official page on the social-networking site talks of the fashion accessories forming “part” of her upcoming show in the Russian city.

Earlier this year the singer vowed to defy a ban on LGBT expression imposed by lawmakers in St Petersburg. Madonna said she would be speaking out against “this ridiculous atrocity” in Thursday’s performance.

However, Madonna’s decision to raise the issue has not attracted universal support from all LGBT Russians.

Some have announced plans to protest her concerts in Moscow and St Petersburg, against what they see as the Material Girl’s hypocrisy in her attitudes towards gay rights.

Madonna opened a high-end fitness centre in Moscow last year, called “Hard Candy”, which is less than 600 metres from the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, US embassy officials have urged fans of the superstar to be vigilant after receiving a threat of physical violence during the Russian leg of her world tour.

The threat comes after Madonna spoke out in support of the band Pussy Riot.

Musicians from the group are currently on trial for hooliganism charges in Moscow following a performance at a Cathedral in February – they donned masks and sang lyrics criticising President Vladimir Putin.

Madonna is among several stars calling for the release of Pussy Riot.