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© RIA Novosti. Iliya Pitalev

Anti-gay pogrom descends on nightclub

by at 12/10/2012 18:35

Unknown assailants attacked a gay club in downtown Moscow on Thursday night. At least three people have been admitted to hospitals as a result.

A party marking international Coming Out Day was in full swing at the 7FreeDays club, located in one of the side streets behind the former KGB headquarters in the Lubyanka area, when the assailants burst in and started beating people up.

“Never before in my life, have I experienced such horror,” Elias Regul, who witnessed the gang ransacking the club and called the police, told the Moscow News.

 

‘They are coming to kill us’

Regul and his friend were talking outside the club, when at about 9:25 p.m. they heard the sounds of a fleeing crowd. “It happened very quickly, in a closed space,” Regul said. “It dawned on me, that they are coming to kill us.”

Someone from the group of men, with hoods over their heads and medical masks over their faces, pushed him and the other person away from the entrance, and both of them used this moment to flee the site. Regul reported the case to a traffic policeman on duty at a nearby station and called the police.

By the time he returned to the club with the officer, the assailants were running away from the club. “What we saw inside was complete chaos,” he said. The club was in ruins and blood was everywhere, he recalled.

 

Assailants numbered about 20

The organizer of the party, Andrei Obolensky, said the assailants numbered about 20, and they were aiming at people’s faces and heads with their fists and bottles, RIA Novosti reported. At the time of the attack, there were about 70 people in the club, most of them women, according to media reports.

The ambulance that arrived at the site assisted four injured people. Three of them, including a woman whose eye was severely damaged by a fragment of her broken glasses, were admitted to hospitals.

Regul was suspicious that the attack could have been orchestrated by two people who were at the party, but who looked too official in comparison with other guests.

The most obvious suspicion, however, immediately fell on radical Orthodox activists who often voice their negative attitude towards gay people, although they denied any possible involvement.

“Our methods are absolutely legal,” Russkaya Sluzhba Novostei quoted Oleg Kassin, co-chairman at Narodny Sobor, one of the movements opposing gay rights in Russia, as saying. “We will stage pickets in Moscow so that a law banning gay and pedophile propaganda is adopted here.” Similar laws have already been adopted in a number of Russian regions. In Moscow, Gay Prides have been banned for 100 years.   

 

Popular meeting spot

7FreeDays was a popular meeting spot for the Moscow gay community, but now its fate seems uncertain.

“A woman from the party’s organizational committee said the club would be closed down because no one would ever want to come here again,” Regul said. “But we are not going to give up – we’ll find a new place or probably rent a new place for our events.” A representative of the club, however, said that it was set to open again on Friday, BBC Russian service reported.

On its official website, the club was described as “the territory of free life.” Entrance was forbidden for people under 18.

The club used to host various events, including plays written and directed by Regul about gay life, including the discrimination that gay people face in Russia. 

 

 

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