Four people acquitted in Emek Theater protests

Four people acquitted in Emek Theater protests

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Four people acquitted in Emek Theater protests

DAILY NEWS photo / Hasan Altınışık

An Istanbul court has acquitted four people who attended protests in April against the demolition of the historic Emek Theater. They had been charged with violating the rally law and resisting police.

The court ruled that movie critics Berke Göl, Hazar Berk Büyüktunca, Özgür İpek and Mehmet Ferit Aka were innocent, saying “attending meetings and demonstrations” is a constitutional right.

Four protestors were tried on charges of “struggling against police doing their duty,” and “violating the rally and march law.”

A group of around 250 people, including cinema artists and cinema lovers, had staged demonstrations in front of the historic Emek Theater on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue on April 7, protesting a project that involves the demolition of the building.

The protests were brought to an abrupt end by police, who were roundly criticized for using tear gas, water cannon and batons against the group.

The building housing the Emek Theater is set to be turned into a shopping center, while the cinema itself will be “lifted” to another floor, according to those leading the controversial project.