Joker screening evacuated after man shouts 'Allahu Akbar' after saying 'it is political' in Paris theater
Viewers were halfway through the film at the Grand Rex cinema when the shock interruption brought about utter chaos. To add to it, someone falsely claimed that he had a gun.
A screening of Joaquin Phoenix-starrer 'Joker' had to be evacuated after a man reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" and raised a ruckus.
Viewers had gotten only halfway through the film after turning up for a 9.30 pm viewing of the film at the Grand Rex cinema on October 28 evening when the shock interruption took place, Le Parisien reports.
It all began when the disrupter was overheard saying "It's political" several times before members in the audience asked him to be quiet. Moments later, the individual stood up from his seat and placed his hands on his chest before shouting the words, "Allahu Akbar!"
According to the report, people panicked and there was chaos inside the cinema as they scrambled from their seats and ran for the exit. Some of them inaccurately claimed the man had a gun.
"It was total panic", audience member Victor told the publication. "People jumped over seats and women fell to the ground in the aisles." The man tried to leave the cinema after yelling the controversial phrase, which means 'God is great' in Arabic and is associated with radical Islamic terrorism.
Despite other cinema goers and a security guard attempting to wrestle him to the ground, he managed to exit the building. However, he was apprehended by Paris police outside the multiplex and taken into custody. The man was later identified as a 34-year-old from the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt and was found to be unarmed. His name has not been released for legal reasons.
Following the ordeal, a bomb squad and sniffer dogs searched the theater for any weapons or explosives but didn't find any. The Grand Rex cinema dates back to 1932.
According to the publication, the man was released from custody on October 28, before being given a complete psychiatric examination.