U2 and Ed Sheeran fans have been told they can claim refunds after the acts cancelled tour dates in St. Louis over the weekend due to safety fears.

Police chiefs in the Missouri city said they could not guarantee the usual level of security at the two shows because of demonstrations following the acquittal of a former police officer over the killing of a suspect in 2011. Police confirmed 33 people were arrested and 11 officers injured in protests.

Pepper spray was used to disperse crowds, while the house of the city’s mayor had rocks and paint thrown at it after hundreds marched on Friday and Saturday night.

U2’s show was to be held at St. Louis’ 70,000-capacity Dome at America’s Center on Saturday, while Sheeran was booked for the 20,000-seat Scottrade Center on Sunday.

U2 frontman Bono wrote in an Instagram post that he was “deeply saddened at what has happened in St. Louis and having to cancel our show”.

Promoter Live Nation and U2 wrote in a statement that the St. Louis Police Department would not be able to provide the “standard protection for our audience as would be expected for an event of this size” for the planned concert. The promoter was also informed that the local crowd security personnel would not be at full capacity.

“In light of this information, we cannot in good conscience risk our fans’ safety by proceeding with tonight’s concert,” the statement read. “As much as we regret having to cancel, we feel it is the only acceptable course of action in the current environment.”

A statement from Sheeran’s promoter Messina Touring Group said the safety of fans was its biggest concern.

It added: “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.”

IMAGE: Dave Herholz