Published: 22 Aug 2012 14:48 GMT+02:00 | Print version
Updated: 22 Aug 2012 14:48 GMT+02:00
Madonna removed the use of a swastika in her show in Nice in southern France on Tuesday following a row with far-right leader Marine Le Pen, and instead used the gig to call for the release of jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot.
Madonna dropped from her last concert in Europe Tuesday a swastika that outraged France's right-wing party but again demanded the freedom of jailed Russian girl punk band Pussy Riot.
The video that accompanied the pop icon's performance in Nice of "Nobody Knows Me" still showed National Front leader Marine Le Pen, but a question mark replaced a swastika that had previously flashed on the politician's forehead.
The appearance of the Nazi symbol at Madonna's Paris performance last month enraged the party, which launched legal action against the 54-year-old singer and threatened to return to the courts should she use it again.
A local party supporter, Gael Nofri, welcomed Madonna's decision.
"As far as I know, Madonna has never changed a video clip. This is proof that our arguments were valid. This is excellent news," he said.
The pop diva used the last gig of a controversy-hit Europe tour to reiterate solidarity with three punk rockers jailed by Russian courts this month over a stunt in a Moscow cathedral criticising President Vladimir Putin.
"Free Pussy Riot!" Madonna shouted from the stage to a packed stadium in the southern French city.
At a concert in Moscow two weeks ago, Madonna donned a balaclava in solidarity with the protest punk band, angering Russian authorities.
The punk band wore knitted balaclavas when they performed a "punk prayer" for the ouster of the veteran strongman in the church in February.
Madonna drew more criticism in Russia when she called for "love and appreciation for the gay community" at a concert in St Petersburg, which had just banned "homosexual propaganda".
"I've seen some very scary things," the star told the Nice crowd, slamming "intolerance" and calling for the respect of "human dignity".
"The real deal is freedom and not just for Pussy Riot," she said, adding later: "Every human being deserves to be treated equally."
"We have to be freedom fighters."
The three Pussy Riot members have been jailed for two years for hooliganism, a sentence that has drawn wide criticism.
The Nice performance was Madonna's last in the Europe leg of a world tour that covers 30 countries, ending in Australia early next year.
French airline company Air France confirmed on Wednesday a multi-billion euro order of Airbus's new A350 planes. The planes are not yet in service and only recently carried out a test flight (see video). READ () »
The days of the rude Paris waiter or shopkeeper may soon be over. As part of a new campaign, Paris tourism chiefs published a training manual this week aimed at teaching Parisians who come into contact with tourists how to offer them a better welcome. READ () »
An elderly woman has drowned in south-western France after severe floods swept away her car in the town of Pierrefitte-Nestalas. In all 43 departments across the country were place on alert for storms and flooding. READ () »
The historic Catholic pilgrimage site of Lourdes in south west France was evacuated on Tuesday after flash floods hit the area. Management at the shrine have told The Local they are growing increasingly concerned as waters continue to rise. READ () »
As a provocative new anti-smacking video campaign by the Fondation pour l'Enfance (Foundation for Childhood) causes a stir in France, the man behind the drive Dr. Gilles Lazimi tells The Local why France needs a law banning parents from smacking their kids. READ () »
French football stars Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema, went on trial on Tuesday, accused of paying to have sex with then underage call-girl Zahia Dehar. The process was adjourned until January, however, on a legal technicality. READ () »
The Eiffel Tower in Paris was evacuated by police on Tuesday after a man threatened to throw himself off the famous monument. Reports suggest, however, that emergency services personnel have succeeded in apprehending the man. READ () »
These words are not the latest outburst by notorious French basher, London's Mayor Boris Johnson, but were the opinion of Britain’s Napoleonic War hero Admiral Lord Nelson, whose outspoken views were revealed in a letter, auctioned in London this week. READ () »
A pregnant Muslim woman who was allegedly attacked in the suburbs of Paris by two ‘skinheads’ for wearing an Islamic face veil has suffered a miscarriage, it was reported on Tuesday. READ () »
A court in north-eastern France on Tuesday sentenced to jail an impersonator to French music icon Serge Gainsbourg for stabbing a rival tribute act for French rock star Johnny Hallyday, amid a bizarre feud between the pair. READ () »