Sting Cancels Kazakhstan

Sting pulled the plug on his scheduled July 4 concert in Kazakhstan, describing reports of human rights violations regarding striking oil workers as a “virtual picket line” that he would not cross.

Claiming their salaries were cut, thousands of oil workers went on strike May 26. Police detained strikers for taking part in an “unsanctioned protest” according to the BBC. Approximately 250 employees of oil company UzenMunaiGas were fired for breaking contractual terms.

Posting a message on his website July 3, Sting said he canceled his July 4 concert in the capital city of Astana after Amnesty International told him about human rights abuses reportedly inflicted upon striking oil workers by the Kasakhstan government.

“Hunger strikes, imprisoned workers and tens of thousands on strike represents a virtual picket line which I have no intention of crossing,” Sting commented on his website. “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.”