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12 May 2014, 11:50
The London Symphony Orchestra's open air concert in Trafalgar Square last night was interrupted by protesters who were making a stand against conductor Valery Gergiev's support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A group of 30 pro-Ukraine activists joined forces with representatives from the Peter Tatchell Foundation, holding signs saying 'Gergiev endorses Putin invasion of Ukraine' and shouting 'Shame on you!' as the conductor took to the podium. Gergiev is one of 500 signatories on a statement on the Russian Ministry of Culture's website backing the Russian president's policies in Ukraine.
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Despite protests, the concert attracted thousands of music lovers who came to listen to pieces by Prokofiev, including Symphony No. 1, extracts from Lieutenant Kijé and the suite from Romeo and Juliet. As the music started, the protesters quietened down, but continued to hold up their signs until being ejected by event staff.
This is not the first time anti-Gergiev protesters have interrupted an LSO concert. Peter Tatchell strode onto the stage before a performance in November 2013, alerting audience members to the conductor's stance on Russia's homosexuality laws.