Turkish Radiohead fans attacked for ‘consuming alcohol’

Tear gas used to disperse protest against attack in which fans of UK band were beaten for drinking beer during Ramadan.

Anti government demonstration in Istanbul
Hundreds of protesters rallied on Saturday in Istanbul against the record store attack [Sedat Suna/EPA]

Turkish police have fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of people protesting after an attack on Radiohead fans for attending a listening party in an Istanbul record shop and “drinking beer” during Ramadan.

Unidentified attackers, apparently upset that people were listening to music and consuming alcohol during the Muslim holy month, forcibly entered the Velvet Indieground record shop, shouted at employees and beat fans of Radiohead with pipes on Friday, according to Turkish media reports.

Skirmishes between police and protesters broke out on Saturday near the shop as hundreds of people rallied against the previous night’s attack.

Several people were detained, the DPA news agency reported, while Turkish police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowd.

The protesters shouted “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism!” and denounced President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “thief” and a “killer”.

No one appeared to have been injured in the police operation.


Video of Friday’s attack was live-streamed on the smartphone app Periscope and later widely shared on social media.

The hashtag #Firuzaga, referring to the neighbourhood where the attack occurred, was trending on Twitter on Saturday, with most social media users condemning the attackers’ “intolerance” and “twisted understanding of Islam and Ramadan”.

In a statement, Radiohead said their 'hearts go out to those attacked' [Alessia Pierdomenico/ Reuters]
In a statement, Radiohead said their ‘hearts go out to those attacked’ [Alessia Pierdomenico/ Reuters]

The Istanbul event was part of a global listening party in support of Radiohead’s new album, A Moon Shaped Pool, and included specially curated playlists and games.

Radiohead issued a statement saying that their “hearts go out to those attacked.

“We hope that someday we will be able to look back on such acts of violent intolerance as things of the ancient past,” the band said.

“For now, we can only offer our fans in Istanbul our love and support.”

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The record shop is owned by Seogu Lee, a South Korean national.

No one was seriously hurt during the attack, but Turkish media reported that Velvet Indieground was served an eviction notice as a result of Friday’s “incident”.

“We heard that there had been an incident in the evening,” Haydar Tekin, Lee’s landlord, told the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

“So we asked him to vacate the property.”

‘Planned assassination’

Ahmet Misbah Demircan, the mayor of Beyoglu, issued a statement on his official Twitter account “condemning” the attack.

He called the developments a “planned assassination of social peace”.

Demircan appeared to blame the victims for filming the attack but said he does not condone any kind of violence.

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“The fact that this incident was associated with fasting and that lifestyle, the way this incident was serviced, is a planned assassination of social peace,” he said.

“People who are trying to dynamite the contribution of Ramadan to social solidarity are going to fail, they will lose.”

Demircan said the Turkish police were investigating the issue and “those responsible for the attack will be brought to justice”.

So far, three people have been taken into custody in relation to the attack, according to police sources talking to DHA news agency.

With reporting by Birce Bora

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies