Police arrested a man yelling “Allah hu Akbar” in a Paris cinema during the screening of Joker after his actions caused panic among filmgoers.
The incident took place on Sunday evening at the Grand Rex cinema in central Paris and saw the man yell the phrase, which is closely associated in France with terrorist attacks, causing people to start running for the exits, Le Parisien reports.
“In the middle of the film, a guy, who was accompanied by another man, shouted ‘It’s political’. He repeated the sentence at least six times. At first, people laughed, then some asked him to shut up,” a witness said.
There, he got up from his chair and shouted, ‘Allah hu Akbar.’ People then got up in a panic, ran to the exits, but the doors were blocked. Some were crying. A mother was looking for her daughter,” the witness added.
The man yelling “Allah hu Akbar” managed to escape the cinema after other moviegoers tried to detain him. Police later arrested him in the nearby tenth arrondissement. He was detained in custody on suspicion of “apologising for terrorism”.
By Monday evening, his detention had been lifted “following a review of behaviour” a judicial source told Le Parisien. The 30-year-old was reportedly admitted to the psychiatric ward of the police headquarters.
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“Obviously, the emergency doors were open. And there were only a few dozen spectators who panicked. Besides, the others stayed to see the film to the end,” Grand Rex management said.
The cinema’s management went on to praise “the reactiveness of spectators who, with vigil, tried to surround the individual while waiting for the police”.
Police say that they were still hunting for the other suspect and noted that some thieves used the panic to try and steal belongings from bags during the incident.
The incident is just the latest in a long line of events in which “Allah hu Akbar” has been yelled, including terrorist attacks and other acts of violence.
In January, a 43-year-old Moroccan migrant armed with a firearm yelled the phrase in Montpellier before being disarmed by a waitress at a local restaurant.
In July, in the department of Eure, the phrase was used by a group of up to 15 youths who proceeded to attack a local police station with various projectiles.
Strasbourg Terror Suspect Yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ During Attack, Has 27 Prior Criminal Convictions https://t.co/A1hPTIzO4e
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