Pussy Riot cancels Israel show without explanation
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Pussy Riot cancels Israel show without explanation

Local promoter says 'technical issues' prompted band to pull out of performance; Russian punk rockers had faced pressure from boycott activists

Russian punk band Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, and Maria Alekhina smile during their news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were granted amnesty on Monday, Dec. 23, two months short of their scheduled release after spending nearly two years in prison for their protest at Moscow's main cathedral. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian punk band Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, and Maria Alekhina smile during their news conference in Moscow, Russia, on Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were granted amnesty on Monday, Dec. 23, two months short of their scheduled release after spending nearly two years in prison for their protest at Moscow's main cathedral. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Russian punk rock feminist band Pussy Riot has canceled a scheduled concert in Israel without explanation, with a local producer attributing the scrapped performance to “technical issues.”

The cancellation followed protests by Israel boycott activists, sparking speculation that its members may have caved to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

“Pussy Riot’s Riot Days show in Israel (16 May) is cancelled,” the band posted early Sunday on Facebook and Twitter.

The Israeli promoter of the show said the cancellation was due to “technical issues,” the Israel Hayom daily reported.

The announcement did not make mention of an earlier appearance by band members Maria Alyokhina and Olga Borisova scheduled for May 8, opening the annual International Writers Festival at Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim cultural center outside the Old City.

Pussy Riot was founded in 2011 and became famous for its opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, as well as its songs about feminism and LGBT rights.

Some fans were tweeting their protests against the May 16 appearance in Tel Aviv’s Barby club.

The cancellation was hailed by anti-Israel users in the comments on the social media posts, with some criticizing the band for scheduling it in the first place.

Israel supporters slammed the band, with one user saying it was “shameful that you gave in to bigots and haters.”

Alyokhina and Borisova are still apparently scheduled to perform a piece called “The Authors’ Revolt” on May 8. It’s based on Alyokhina’s book, “Riot Days,” which describes her time served in prison for public activism. She is also scheduled to have a conversation with lawmaker Merav Michaeli about the book during the course of the festival.

Jessica Steinberg contributed to this report.

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