Kyrgyzstan: Anti-gay group blocks boy band concert

Kazaky boy band Image copyright Kazaky Vkontakte
Image caption Kazaky describe themselves as a dance-pop band

A 300-strong protest by a Kyrgyz anti-gay youth group has stopped a boy band's nightclub show, raising fears of increasing homophobia in the Central Asian country.

Members of the Kalys group say they blocked the entrance to Guns'n'Roses nightclub in Bishkek, where the Ukrainian four-piece Kazaky were due to perform, in order to defend "traditional values". The band is known for performing shirtless and in stiletto heels.

The club's management say they had no choice but to cancel the concert. "We incurred heavy losses over the cancellation," organiser Danil Mishin tells the Kyrgyz news portal Kloop. "But what's worse is that we let down all the people who'd bought tickets to see Kazaky." The police "shrugged their shoulders and did nothing," he says, adding that Kazaky themselves were "diplomatic" about the incident.

Only former band member Francesco Borgato has come out as gay, while others are married with children, according to Mr Mishin. But the band has also seen its concerts disrupted by self-proclaimed Cossacks in Russia angry at the name - Kazaky means Cossacks in Ukrainian - being associated with their topless dance routines. The incident comes after the Kyrgyz parliament passed the first reading of a bill threatening jail for the "promotion of homosexuality", a move criticised by civil rights groups. As one comment on the Kloop page puts it: "Who will they come for next?"

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