A gay club in the city of Dnipro in Ukraine has been violently raided by police.
Potemkin, a popular club for gay men in the city in central Ukraine, was the target of a police raid on 20 April.
According to Nash Mir, one of the most prominent local LGBTI organizations, police burst into the night club at 1am.
Once inside the club, police officers forced everyone to lie down. At the time, about 30 visitors were at the club, alongside several members of staff.
Police then confiscated mobile phones. Moreover, some of the staff complained about other items disappearing from the cloakroom.
Eyewitnesses claim police officers behaved in a homophobic way, yelling slurs at them. Moreover, police allegedly forced two foreigners to sing the national anthem of Ukraine.
Officers also allegedly inflicted injuries to one of the club’s visitors.
The club’s owners and some visitors filed applications on illegal actions of the police to Sobornе Police Department in Dnipro.
What were the reasons for the raid?
The official website of Dnipro police presented an explanation for the raid.
Police explained they called a search within a pre-trial investigation initiated under Part 2 of Article 302 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine which criminalizes the creation and the management of brothels and trading in prostitution.
The article, however, didn’t address the alleged homophobic conduct during the raid.
They confirmed they removed equipment, laptops and mobile phones, as well as condoms.
Gay sex between consenting adults isn’t a crime
‘We strongly condemn these obviously homophobic and illegal actions of the police in Dnipro city,’ spokesperson for Nash Mir Andriy Maymulakhin said in a statement.
‘At the time when there is no shortage of genuine criminal offence in Ukraine, including hate crimes based on sexual orientation, the police actually engaged in the fight against gay sex between consenting adult men.’
He also added: ‘We want to separately emphasise that to prosecute so-called “distribution of pornography” and “running brothels” (Articles 301 and 302 of the Criminal Code respectively) is an anachronism in the modern democratic world and an instrument of selective pressure if this affects the voluntary actions of adult individuals.’