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Clashes with the Police

Written by Thomas Büsch on . Posted in Little Earthquake

emekThe Emek Sinemasi (cinema) was quoted as being the most elegant cinema in Istanbul and was one of the last remaining ‘movie palaces’ to survive in Turkey. It is said it was one of the most beautiful cinemas in Turkey… maybe even in all of Europe! It was located just off the Istiklal Caddesi in the busy Beyoglu district of downtown Istanbul.

The Istanbul Film Festival opened with a protest at the building of Emek cinema, with a group of 30 protesters occupying the building to protest the demolition, before another protest on April 7 resulted in clashes between protesters and police.

Police forces deployed water cannon and tear gas on April 7 to disperse the massive group that had gathered in Taksim to protest the demolition, which authorities have labeled as a radical restoration. Several actors and demonstrators were ultimately taken into custody at the end of the protest.

The protest was attended by several prominent names in the cinema world, with the likes of Greek-French director Costa-Gravas, British director and BAFTA laureate Mike Newell, Chilean screenwriter and director Marco Bechis and German director Jan Ole Gerster all attending.

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) issued a statement following the clashes, slamming the “excessive force” used by the police. “We condemn what has been inflicted on cinema lovers who did nothing other than protect Istanbul’s cultural memory,” the statement said.

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Photos by Nazım Serhat Fırat

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