On 8 May 2012 when countries in Europe, former Soviet Union and elsewhere started marking the anniversary of the end of World War II, Armenian neo-nazi elements decided to mark it with an attack towards the oasis of freedom in Yerevan, my favourite venue - DIY bar. A place, where all the alternative types feel at home. A place, welcoming free-spirited people, sub-cultures, experimental things. Gay friendly. [read my previous postings re DIY here]
They broke the window, threw 'Molotov cocktail'-like thing into the front part through the door, which was then exploded and caused flames to burst out, and ran off. It took the firemen around 30 mins to put out the fire.
There's a camera outside the DIY that caught the guys who did it. I saw CCTV video image with a moment of attack and the aftermath. The perpetrators were easily identifiable thanks to CCTV image and previous history of nuisance and disturbances (and not only towards DIY, but some other relatively free-spirited bars). First it was "innocent": just words. But soon it started escalating. The last few incidents involved breaking glass and throwing up outside of the bar. And then they disappeared for a few months. Suddenly they were back again last night (around 5 am). They are members of neo-nazi group terrorising parts of Yerevan for a while now.
It took the police 12 hours (!) to finally show up and take the matters seriously. Good news is that thanks to CCTV image and insights provided by DIY owners and employees, at least 2 suspects have now been detained (at the time of writing this post).
People are being gathering outside the DIY throughout the day. They want to collect money and help to rebuild the bar. People are also making little posters with slogans like: "I am DIY"; "DIY: no to fascism"; "Your bombs don't affect us" etc. which they want to post in DIY and other bars around Yerevan.
As far as the damage: only the front part of the bar was damaged. The back is the same. The front part is pretty damaged, though. The bar has been burned down. The air conditioner melted and is now hanging down. The only thing that survived intact... was a bottle of Kilikia.
I will keep you posted on developments and how you could help re-building the DIY.
*Special thanks to a friend of mine who provided with the up-to-date info and pictures from the scene of the hate crime.
*the shelves behind the bar
*the air conditioner
*burned money stuck on the shelves
*boxes to collect money: "I am DIY"
*poster: "Your bomb does not affect us"