Iggy Pop cancels Sarajevo concert after violence

Iggy Pop of band Iggy and the Stooges performs at the Virgin Mobile Festival in Baltimore, Maryland August 10, 2008. REUTERS/Bill Auth

SARAJEVO (Reuters Life!) - American punk icon Iggy Pop and his band The Stooges cancelled an Oct. 1 concert in Sarajevo over security fears after violence disrupted the Bosnian capital’s first gay festival last week.

“The concert is cancelled,” Rajko Bogdanovic, an organiser, told Reuters on telephone. “The main reason lies in negative images that went out of Sarajevo in the past days.”

The gay festival closed early after hooded men, some shouting Islamic slogans, attacked visitors on its opening night, injuring eight people. About 70 men, some shouting “God is greatest” in Arabic, dragged festival-goers from their cars and beat others in the streets on Wednesday.

Islamic papers and magazines had criticised the timing of the festival, organised during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Fans of two rival soccer clubs also clashed at the weekend in Sarajevo, damaging cars and buses and smashing windows of nearby bars. Several people were admitted to hospital.

“Sarajevo is still on the list of the world high-risk places,” said Bogdanovic, the director of the Art Zone agency. He added that ticket sales were also poor.

The concert of Iggy Pop, known for his controversial performances, was scheduled on the second day of Eid-al-Fitr, the Islamic holiday that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Sarajevo, known for centuries for the peaceful coexistence of Muslims, Christians and Jews, became a majority Muslim city after the 1992-95 war.