Ed Sheeran and U2 canceled their weekend shows in St. Louis citing "safety concerns" after hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the acquittal of Jason Stockley, a white police officer who fatally shot Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011.
According to Rolling Stone, Sheeran was scheduled to perform a sold-out show on Sunday at Scottrade Center, while U2 were set to take the stage at the Dome at America's Center on Saturday. Both Sheeran and U2, along with their promoters, issued statements claiming that they couldn't risk the safety of their fans as venue security were pulled away to monitor the protest.
"With the safety of the fans being of upmost concern, and after consulting with local officials, who could not fully commit to providing a sufficient amount of police and other city services support, we felt it was in everyone's best interest to cancel Sunday night's show," Messing Touring Group said in a statement regarding Sheeran's performance.
St. Louis Police Department responded to the news in a series of tweets, writing that while officers weren't available to work the event due to "the department's full staffing needs in times of civil uncertainty," "promoters always have the option to hire private security."
The protests began on Friday and continued through the weekend. Though they started peacefully, some violence erupted between heavily armed police officers and a small number of rioters who threw rocks at law enforcement, who in turn deployed tear gas into the crowd. Organizers told ABC News they were disappointed that some "agitators" dismantled what was supposed to be a nonviolent demonstration.
Some fans of Sheeran and U2 were quick to blame protesters and rioters for ruining their weekends, sharing their anger and tears on Twitter.
One user wrote: "I hope you protesters are satisfied. Seeing Ed Sheeran in St. Louis tomorrow night is what we have dreamed of! You are terrible people."
Others have responded differently, calling systemic racism and violence the real issue.