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Radiohead fans beaten with sticks and bottles by mob in Istanbul

© @pc6868, Twitter | The owner of Velvet Indieground in Istanbul kneels in front of his trashed store a day after the attack, on June 18, 2016

Text by Louise NORDSTROM

Latest update : 2016-06-18

A mob of about 20 men armed with sticks and bottles stormed a record store in central Istanbul at the weekend, beating both customers and staff for drinking alcohol and listening to British band Radiohead’s new album during the holy month of Ramadan.

The private Dogan news agency said at least two people were injured in the assault that took place at the Velvet Indieground record shop in Istanbul’s Tophane district on Friday evening, during a release streaming party for Radiohead’s album “A Moon Shaped Pool”.

A video filmed during the altercation and posted online shows how a group of men entered the store, yelling “what are you doing here during Ramada, get out!”. They are also seen throwing chairs and pushing people out onto the street, where they proceed to beat them.

“We will kill you, you bastards!” one of the attackers is heard shouting. The footage shows one person bleeding from the head after allegedly being hit with a bottle.

According to Rayka Simoni, who witnessed the attack, the people attending the release party were "quitely listening to music while sipping beer" when the violence suddenly broke out.

"Twenty people started throwing bottles at them. One of them kicked my friend for telling them it wasn't right to hit women," she was cited by Dogan as saying.

Radiohead immediately issued a statement condemning the attack. "We hope that some day we will be able to look back on such acts of violent intolerance as things of the ancient past. For now, we can only offer our fans in Istanbul our love and support."

The Associated Press reported that the store has been closed since the attack and that posters advertising the release party have been ripped off nearby walls. A rally protesting the assault was scheduled for Saturday evening.

Similar attacks have been reported in the Tophane area in the past few years and critics say the country’s Islamic-rooted government is largely to blame for the increased intolerance.

Istanbul’s pride parade banned

On Friday, the governor of Istanbul banned the city’s annual gay pride parade, citing Ramadan and security concerns after the ultra-nationalist youth group, the Alperen Hearths, threatened to stop the march on June 26 from taking place.

While the parade's organisers, the Pride Week Commission, said the ban was illegal, Amnesty International blasted authorities for “denying LGBTI people and their allies their right to peaceful assembly”.

Amnesty’s Turkey Researcher Andrew Gardner also tweeted that “Istanbul Governorship's Pride marches ban hides behind 'security' grounds. transphobia, homophobia, allergy to demonstrations are real cause”.

It is the second year in a row that the event has been banned in Istanbul since it started there in 2003. Last year, authorities recalled permission for the parade just an hour before it was due to begin, resulting in dozens of people being injured after police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd that had gathered for the march.

Date created : 2016-06-18


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