ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
The protest was announced as an “alternative opening ceremony of the Istanbul Film Festival,” which started on March 30. DHA photo
A group of 30 protesters “occupied” Istanbul’s iconic Emek Cinema Theater to protest the demolition of the historic building. Protesters were forced to leave the building by police forces after a two-hour-long struggle.
The protestors carried banners reading “We will not let the Taksim project be realized” and “Emek and capital will not make a deal.” They also chanted, “Emek is ours, Istanbul is ours.”
The protest was announced as an “alternative opening ceremony of the Istanbul Film Festival,” which started on March 30.
The protestors walked to Yeşilçam Street, the location of the historic theater, where they organized a sit down strike. Police then surrounded the entrance of the theatre to prevent others from getting in.
The group, shouting slogans and whistling until they reached the street of the movie theater, symbolically tore up movie tickets that had been designed for the protest.
The protest was supported by many artists, film critics and cinema lovers. Its spokesperson said the next place to occupy would be Beyoğlu Municipality, in order to protest Mayor Ahmet Misbah Demircan.
“They are demolishing a building that belongs to the public in front of our eyes, ignoring laws and the public good. But we, the real owners of Emek Theater, will not stand idly by,” the spokesperson said.
Organized by the “Emek Bizim” (Emek is Ours) Platform, the protest is the latest in a series of protests that have been held since the Emek project was initiated in 2010.