German police have opened an investigation into alleged provocations at a recent concert by Roger Waters, a former member of the rock group Pink Floyd, who notably sported an outfit evoking an SS officer.

“We are investigating suspicions of incitement to hatred because the clothes worn on stage are likely to glorify or justify the National Socialist regime and disturb the public peace”, declared, Friday, May 26, to Agence France -Press, a spokesman for the Berlin police, Martin Halweg.

Images posted on social media show Waters wearing a long black coat and red armbands during a concert on May 17 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin.

Several German and Israeli media also refer to the inscriptions, in red letters on a screen during the concert, of the names of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp, and Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian-American journalist from the Al-Jazeera channel killed in an Israeli raid in May 2022. A parallel that, for critics, relates to the horror of the Holocaust.

The memory of Anne Frank “defiled”

“Unfortunately, the legal proceedings against him have so far turned in his favor – despite spreading anti-Semitism and being suspected of inciting hatred,” the anti-terrorism delegate said. anti-Semitism, Felix Klein, to the newspapers of the Funke group. But “I appeal to the vigilance of the police and the judiciary and I encourage other denunciations”, adds Mr. Klein.

“We are investigating and once the procedure is completed, we will forward it to the public prosecutor for a final legal assessment,” said the police spokesperson, stressing that it would be up to the prosecution to initiate possible lawsuits.

The concert drew heavy criticism in Israel. Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday blamed Waters for “sullying the memory of Anne Frank and the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.”

“Waters wants to compare Israel to the Nazis.” He is “one of the biggest critics of the Jews of our time”, reacted, on Twitter, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Danny Danon.

A “statement of opposition to fascism”, according to Waters

Rogers Waters, 79, is often accused of holding anti-Jewish views. He floated an inflatable pig emblazoned with the Star of David at his concerts. The lead singer of the legendary Another Brick In The Wall denies accusations of anti-Semitism, saying he protests Israeli policies, not the Jewish people.

He reacted on Twitter on Friday by posting a message in which he lambasted the critics who targeted him. “My recent performance in Berlin has drawn bad faith attacks from those who want to smear me and silence me because they disagree with my political views and moral principles,” he said. he.

“The elements of my show that have been questioned are very clearly a statement of opposition to fascism, injustice and bigotry in all its forms,” ​​he explains, adding that he spent “every [his] life to [s]rise against authoritarianism and oppression”, and that “the portrayal of an unhinged fascist demagogue has been part of [his] show since Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ in 1980”.

“My parents fought the Nazis in World War II, my father paying the ultimate price,” he recalls, his father, a lieutenant in the British army, having died during a military operation in 1944.

Demonstration planned in Frankfurt

Waters has distinguished himself in recent years by taking controversial positions, particularly on the war in Ukraine. “It is not true that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was unprovoked”, had notably launched the ex-Pink Floyd, on February 8, before the UN Security Council, where he had been invited by Russia to speak.

He also defends actions to boycott Israeli products in the name of defending the Palestinian cause.

Frankfurt authorities canceled a concert by the British singer on May 28, but the decision was overturned by an administrative court in the name of freedom of expression. A demonstration against this concert is planned at the call of the local Jewish community and the Greens party.