Suspected Neo Nazis have launced two arson attacks at a lesbian-owned pub in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, since the start of the pub.
Armenian News reported that in the second attack on 15 May, a group of young men arrived at the gay DIY Rock Pub around 6pm, where they burned the bar’s ‘No to Fascism’ poster and drew the Nazi Swastika on the walls.
This rapidly followed a second attack earlier on 8 May, where a petrol bomb was thrown through the Rock Pub’s window.
Firefighters took 30 minutes to extinguinsh the blaze, which caused heavy damage to the faÃ§ade and interior of the building.
DIY Rock Bar’s lesbian owner, Tsomak Oganezova claimed: ‘The arson attack on the pub had been committed by members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation [a left-wing nationalist party].’
The Armenian Police, who took 12 hours to respond to the attack, eventually detained two young men they found on the bar’s CCTV footage.
20-year-old ‘Arame’ and his 19-year-old brother, ‘Hambik’ were held in custody for a few hours before the court decided that both should be released. According to ArmeniaNow, one of them was released under a written pledge not to leave the country and the other brother was released on bail.
Arame’s lawyer, who is a member of the ARF, has commented that his client’s one million drams ($2,500 â‚¬1,964) bail was paid by ARF members Artsvik Minasyan and Hrayr Karapetyan.
Minasyan made a statement, confirming that he had paid the bail, however he condemned ‘the irrelevant politicization of the phenomenon by the owners of the pub and their supporters, as well as the speculations over the ARF’s reputation.’
Oganezova responded to both attacks: ‘Everything started the day when Yerkir Media TV channel [which is associated with the ARF] interviewed me, because I had participated in a gay parade in Turkey.’
Yerkir TV deny this accusation.
Unzipped: Gay Armenia has stated that the city’s LGBT community has gathered outside DIY holding banners saying ‘DIY: No to Fascism’ asking for donations to help towards renovation costs.
The European International Lesbian and Gay Association Europe (ILGA-Europe) index ranked Armenia as one of the worst violators of LGBT human rights in their recent study.
Armenia, bordered by Turkey and Georgia, is a former republic of the Soviet Union.
View the Armenian TV report from 8 May here: