The Sivas massacre (Turkish: Sivas Katliamı, Madımak Katliamı) refers to the events of July 2, 1993 which resulted in the deaths of 37 people, mostly Alevi intellectuals, and two hotel employees. Two people from the mob also died. The victims, who had gathered for a cultural festival in Sivas, Turkey, were killed when a mob of radical Islamists set fire to the hotel where the group had assembled. The attack took place not long after traditional Friday prayers, when the mob broke through police barricades to surround the Otel Madımak, where artists, writers and musicians had gathered to celebrate 16th century Alevi poet Pir Sultan Abdal. Reportedly angered by the presence of Aziz Nesin, a writer who had translated and published extracts from Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, the enraged fundamentalists surrounded the hotel, shouting "Death to the infidel!" and threatening the assembled artists with lynching. The hotel was set alight, and the fire claimed 35 lives, including those of musicians, poets, tourists and hotel staff, while assembled police did nothing to intervene. Aziz Nesin was able to escape only because attackers initially failed to recognize him. According to reports, when rescuers eventually realized his identity, he was beaten by firemen while a city councilman, Cafer Erçakmak, from the Welfare Party shouted, "This is the devil we should have really killed".