15-year-old rapper arrested during St Petersburg concert
Popular Russian rapper Baby Melo, whose real name is Goga Meladze, was arrested on stage while performing a set in St Petersburg on Saturday.
Police said they detained a total of 23 people between the ages of 15 and 19 during the event, including rapper Badr (Orkhan Akhmedov) who was performing alongside Meladze.
In a video posted from the concert at the Gian Hall club, police officers can be seen walking on stage while Meladze is performing and escorting him out of the venue. Notably, the vocal track continued to play after the officers took away his microphone.
In another video shot outside the concert hall, the 15-year-old rapper is seen being placed into a police van as a group of teenagers chant his name.
According to local news outlets citing police press service reports, officers were initially called to the scene by local residents who had complained of outdoor alcohol consumption and swearing by the club visitors.
After detaining the teenagers, police filed reports on illegal public alcohol consumption and petty hooliganism. However, all of the detainees were later released to their parents except for Meladze, who was taken to a temporary detention center as no one came to collect him.
As reported by the Fontanka news outlet, his mother eventually came for him and he was released on Sunday, writing on his social media account that he is free, and urging his followers not to use curse words.
The rapper's parents, meanwhile, have called their son’s detention “lawlessness,” insisting that he did not use any expletives during the show. They also complained that they were not informed about his detention by the police, instead learning about it from Meladze’s friends.
Previously, Meladze drew the attention of Ekaterina Mizulina, the head of the Safe Internet League non-profit, which promotes “media literacy.” In August she filed a complaint against the teenager for promoting drugs in his songs, and called on the police to investigate him in September for posting a video, in which he can be seen driving a car on a highway. The legal driving age in Russia is 18, meaning the rapper does not have a driver's license.
Commenting on his latest arrest, Mizulina described “baby melo and his friends” as a real “teenage gang” who “promote drugs, incite ethnic hatred, insult Russians and Slavs in general, demonstrate weapons on social media, film themselves shooting guns inside apartment buildings and drive recklessly without a license.”
“Why law enforcement agencies did not pay attention to this for such a long time is unclear,” Mizulina wrote.