Turkish police teargas & disperse rally protesting Radiohead party attack (VIDEO)
Hundreds of people flooded the Cihangir neighbourhood of Turkey’s capital, where the Velvet Indieground store is located. The demonstrators were chanting “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism!” and slamming Turkish President Erdogan, labeling him a “thief” and a “killer,” AFP reports.
The police reportedly scattered the protest in less than an hour with the help of tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannon.
The rally was staged in response to Friday’s brutal attack in which a group of 20 screaming men, reportedly harboring radical Islamist beliefs, entered a record store armed with sticks and spewed insults at the people who had gathered inside to celebrate the release of Radiohead’s new album, A Moon Shaped Pool. The gang assaulted the party guests, vandalized the store, and smashed up equipment, before eventually forcing everyone out.
The assailants were reportedly infuriated by the fact that the music lovers were drinking beer during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. One of the attackers even threatened to kill the victims.
“We will kill you, you bastards!” a man was heard shouting during the attack, according to AFP.
The whole incident was captured on Periscope. The camera had originally been set up to stream the party, but unwittingly captured the attack, becoming evidence of the crime instead.
“We were beaten by more than 20 men with pipes in their hands, beer bottles were broken on our heads; I don’t even know how we made it out,” said the store owner, describing the terrible moments the Radiohead fans had to endure.
In response to the violent crime, Radiohead issued a statement containing a message of support, expressing hope that “such acts of violent intolerance” will be looked at as “things of the ancient past.”
“Our hearts go out to those attacked tonight at Velvet IndieGround in Istanbul,” the statement says.
Recounting the dramatic events, one witness told RT that nobody had anticipated the attack as the guests were peacefully enjoying themselves.
“People were sitting on the ground, on the pavement” and “there was some gentle music going,” when he pointed out to his wife that there were “some guys round the top alley who are the kind of thugs and like to beat up people and smash things up.”
He said that outbreaks of religiously motivated violence directed at people consuming alcohol during Ramadan had become a usual occurrence in Istanbul over the past years.
This year and last, some art galleries came under attack for the same reason, as their visitors were “drinking wine on the streets,” the witness said.
“They smashed the galleries this year and last year. And I said to my wife – these guys are going to be a trouble because they don’t like this kind of thing,” he added.