Russian police have arrested 18 Cannibal Corpse fans in St. Petersburg, it’s been reported.
Fans began to protest after the band’s gig was cancelled at the last minute. And although the venue cited unspecified technical reasons, many believe the plug was pulled because of pressure from authorities.
Cannibal Corpse had previously been accused of blasphemy, with Dimitry Tsorionov, head of Russia’s God’s Will movement calling for the tour to be scrapped.
According to the St. Petersburg Times, fans began throwing bottles at police, leading to the arrests. Police say those detained were charged either with disorderly conduct or being drunk in public – offences that can lead to fines and up to 15 days in prison.
It was the third gig to be cancelled on the band’s Russian tour, following previous difficulties in Ufa and Moscow – although their shows in Krasnodar, Samara, Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg went ahead without any problems.
The band say in a statement: “Our concerts in Ufa, Moscow and St. Petersburg were cancelled. We were present in these cities and ready to perform each of the shows but were not permitted to. In Ufa, the power was turned off shortly before the show – we were told it was because the venue was late on rent.
“In Moscow and St. Petersburg, we were told we didn’t have the correct visas and that if we attempted to perform, the concert would be stopped by police and we would be detained and deported.”
They add: “We came to Russia excited and prepared to play all of the scheduled concerts. We apologise that we were not able to do so – it was beyond our control.”
Cannibal Corpse aren’t the first band to run into problems in Russia. Marilyn Manson had to cancel a Moscow gig in June due to a bomb threat, while another concert was scrapped over fears his performance would offend Orthodox groups.
Cannibal Corpse released their 13th album A Skeletal Domain last month and recently launched a promo for the track Kill Or Become.