Lady Gaga arrives in Philippines amid protests
MANILA, Philippines – Pop singer Lady Gaga arrived in the Philippines on Saturday to cheers from fans and protests from young Christians calling for the cancellation of her upcoming concerts.
About 200 Christian young people marched in Manila for a second straight day, holding placards urging the singer to "respect our faith, stop the blasphemy."
The Biblemode Youth Philippines members plan to hold a vigil starting Sunday near the concert venue. They said they are offended by Lady Gaga's music, particularly her song "Judas," which they said mocks Jesus Christ.
But throngs of shrieking, camera-toting fans mobbed her, seeking her autograph as she walked into her hotel surrounded by bodyguards. She arrived in Manila late Saturday on a private jet.
Authorities in the conservative, majority Roman Catholic country approved the concerts, set for Monday and Tuesday, but said they won't allow nudity or lewd acts.
Sold-out crowds and angry protests have followed Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" Asian tour.
Fans younger than 18 were banned from concerts in South Korea over complaints her lyrics and costumes were too provocative, and she was denied a concert permit in Indonesia by police under pressure from Islamic hard-liners.
Riot police stopped Saturday's marchers about a kilometer (half a mile) away from the concert venue. Phalanxes of security guards stood on alert in front of the arena.
"She declared a distorted view toward Jesus Christ and for us Biblical Christians it is offensive," said Ruben Abante, a protest leader. "Her music and everything about her is different from what our values are."
Organizers from Ovation Productions said they respect the beliefs of critics but promised that the performances "will not pose a threat to their sense of morality and conduct."
Under Philippine law, people who offend race or religion can be sentenced to up to six years in prison, although no one has been convicted recently.