An investigation has been launched into Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters after he wore a Nazi-style uniform on stage at Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, German police said.
According to Reuters, the British 79-year-old was not immediately available for comment, but social media users came to his defence saying the performance was a recreation of satirical scenes from the film of the band’s hit album “The Wall”, a critique of fascism.
Images from a concert on May 17 showed the famed singer and bass player in a long back trench coat with bright read arm bands, aiming an imitation machine gun into the audience.
The outfit included a swastika-like emblem made of two crossed hammers – iconography that also appeared on costumes in the 1982 film starring rock star turned campaigner Bob Geldof.
Nazi symbols, flags and uniforms are prohibited in Germany. Waters is being investigated under a separate law on suspicion of “incitement of the people”, police said.
The costume worn by Waters “is deemed capable of violating the dignity of the victims, as well as approving, glorifying or justifying the violent and arbitrary rule of the Nazi regime in a way that disrupts public peace,” a police spokesperson said.
Other German cities including Munich, Frankfurt and Cologne tried to cancel Waters’ concerts after Jewish groups including the Central Council of Jews accused him of anti-Semitism.
Waters is a member of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement that targets Israel over its occupation of territories where Palestinians seek statehood.
He denied the accusations and the efforts to stop the concerts were unsuccessful. The final German tour date at Frankfurt’s Festhalle venue on May 28 is still listed on Waters’ website.
Fans and other social media users said Waters had worn the same costume in past concerts.
“He’s clearly depicting Pink from The Wall (1982), famously played by Bob Geldof, who descends into a drug-addled fascist fantasy in a film that CONDEMNS fascism. Absurd,” podcast host Joseph Attard wrote on Twitter.