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Turkish Radiohead fans attacked for 'consuming alcohol'

19 June 2016, 07:49

Istanbul - Turkish media reports say a group of men stormed a record store in Istanbul and attacked fans of a British pop group who were attending an album-listening event, claiming that they were "drinking beer during Ramadan".

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

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

Skirmishes between police and protesters broke out on Saturday near the Velvet Indieground 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.

Video of Friday's attack was live-streamed on the smarphone 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".

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."

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 Istanbul, 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.

"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 was investigating the issue and "those responsible for the attack will be brought to justice".

With reporting by Birce Bora

- Aljazeera


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