Knopfler can­cels shows over Rus­sian clam­p­down

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

LON­DON — Gui­tarist Mark Knopfler can­celled two shows in Rus­sia in protest over what he says is a crack­down on hu­man rights groups in the coun­try, as Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on Fri­day dis­missed West­ern crit­i­cism of his government’s raids on non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The former Dire Straits front­man is scrap­ping the June gigs in Moscow and St. Peters­burg fol­low­ing raids on the Rus­sian of­fices of groups in­clud­ing Hu­man Rights Watch and Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, ac­cord- ing to a post on his web­site Fri­day.

“I have al­ways loved play­ing in Rus­sia and have great af­fec­tion for the coun­try and the peo­ple,” he said in the post. “I hope the cur­rent cli­mate will change soon.”

Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties raided hun­dreds of non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions last month to make sure they com­ply with a law re­quir­ing many of them to reg­is­ter as “for­eign agents.”

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