Last week a gay-friendly bar in Armenia was fire-bombed, reportedly because the owner is an LGBT rights activist who once marched in a gay pride parade. The suspects have been bailed out by members of parliament.
A homemade bomb this month targeted a bar, called “DIY,” which is seen as a haven for “free thinkers” and welcomes the often-shunned gay community of Yerevan. The hate crime, which happened just two days after the parliamentary elections, has given way to controversy, as ARF MPs Artsvik Minasyan and Hrayr Karapetyan reportedly posted the one million dram (approximately USD 2,500) bail to free the assailants. The attackers, Iranian-Armenian brothers Hampig and Mgrdich (also referred to as Arame) Khapazian, are said to have targeted bar owner Tsomak Oganesova for her activism in the LGBT community, and her participation in a Gay Pride Parade in Turkey. No one happened to be at the bar at the time of the attack, which happened during the early morning hours on May 8. However, substantial damage was reported to the walls and furniture, which were burned from the bomb.
Other attackers returned to the bar yesterday to paint swastikas on its walls. Two more men were arrested. (Tipped by JMG reader Roger)