Turkish police fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets late last night to disperse hundreds of people protesting after Islamists attacked Radiohead fans for attending an album launch at an Istanbul record store during Ramadan.
The man pictured above was injured when the attackers – one of who was heard on this video shouting “I’ll fuck you alive and your corpse” – hit him on the head with a bottle.
In an angry reaction, last night around 500 people gathered in Istanbul’s central Cihangir neighbourhood to protest against the attack. They shouted “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism!” and denounced President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “thief” and a “killer”. They also held signs saying “no submission”.
The protesters dispersed into side-streets in less than an hour, choking on police tear gas. No one appeared to have been injured in the police operation.
Turkish authorities have regularly cracked down on anti-government demonstrations since mass protests in 2013, using tear gas and water cannon against even small gatherings.
At least two people were injured in Friday’s attack at the record store. The attackers trashed the shop in Istanbul’s hip Tophane district, hurled insults and broke up the release party for Radiohead’s new album “A Moon Shaped Pool”.
The British rock group condemned the attack, saying:
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.
Images filmed during the altercation and widely circulating on social media show the attackers hurling barstools and wrecking the store.
One of the attackers is heard shouting:
We will kill you, you bastards!
Rayka Simoni, who was outside the store, said the Radiohead fans were “quietly listening to music while sipping beer” when they were attacked. She said:
Twenty people started throwing bottles at them. One of them kicked my friend for telling them it wasn’t right to hit women.
The Hurriyet newspaper said the music store’s owner was a South Korean national who had been living in Turkey for many years. It said many South Koreans were inside at the time of the attack.
Police have opened an investigation into the violence.
Similar attacks have targeted art galleries in the area in the past, with critics claiming Turkey’s current Islamic-rooted government is undermining the country’s secular tradition.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn