Istanbul (AFP) – British rock group Radiohead on Saturday condemned “violent intolerance” after Islamists brutally attacked customers at an Istanbul record store attending an album release party, angered that the event coincided with Ramadan.
A group of about 20 men accosted and beat up customers and employees at the Velvet IndieGround music store in the city’s hip Tophane district on Friday night for drinking alcohol while listening to music during the Muslim holy month.
They trashed the store, hurled insults and broke up the release party of the album “A Moon Shaped Pool”.
At least two people were injured, witnesses told Turkey’s Dogan news agency. Police have started an investigation into the violence.
Images filmed during the altercation and widely circulating on social media show the attackers hurling barstools and wrecking the store.
One person was seen bleeding with head injuries after being hit with a bottle.
One of the attackers is seen shouting: “We will kill you!”
Rayka Simoni, who was outside the store, told Dogan that the Radiohead fans were “quitely listening to music while sipping beer” when they were attacked.
“Twenty people started throwing bottles at them. One of them kicked my friend for telling them it wasn’t right to hit women,” she said.
Radiohead said in a message: “Our hearts go out to those attacked.
“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 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.
A protest will be held outside the store later Saturday.
Similar attacks have targeted art galleries in the area in the past. Critics claim Turkey’s current Islamic-rooted government is undermining the country’s secular tradition.