Update 8/8/2020 19:00: According to a tweet from Oramics from 18:47, Avtomat has been released from custody.
Avtomat, a DJ and member of Polish electronic music and activist collective Oramics, was reportedly arrested yesterday (7th August) during a peaceful protest in Warsaw.
Protesters gathered in the streets of the Polish capital on Friday to show solidarity and to challenge the arrest of LGBTQ+ activist, Margot. According to reports, Margot, founder of radical queer collective Stop Bzdurom, was to be arrested yesterday on suspicion of vandalising a truck, which was plastered with homophobic slogans, in June. Allegedly, she is also among several activists who recently hung rainbow flags and anarcho-queer masks on famous Polish monuments in protest of the anti-LGBTQ+ policies of President Andrzej Duda, who was officially sworn in for a second term last week.
A court order mandated two months of pre-trial detention for Margot. As she was to be detained yesterday, dozens of peaceful protesters gathered at the offices of Campaign Against Homophobia to block the arrest. A video live-stream of the protest shows a stand-off between protestors and police officers, who eventually left without making any arrest, despite Margot volunteering herself.
According to sources, including an account from anarchist collective Syrena, Margot was later arrested by plainclothes officers in an unmarked car, while other uniformed officers surrounded the vehicle. Protesters, allegedly including Avtomat, sat to create a barricade, blocking the vehicle from leaving. After roughly an hour, an altercation broke out between protesters and police. One source wrote, “I've never seen the police acting so aggressively towards non-violent protesters, throwing them on the ground without even a warning”.
Polish police have said they arrested 48 individuals during the protest, claiming that protesters were detained in connection to “insults directed at police as well as damage to a police car”. Certain protesters, however, have claimed that the arrests were random.
Reportedly, Avtomat, a DJ and producer with Oramics collective, was among those arrested. Last year, in an in-depth feature about Poland’s radical DIY club scene, DJ Mag contributor Anna Caffola described Oramics as “one of the country’s most urgent, scene-shaking collectives” who “seek to empower women, LGBTQ+, and non-binary people in electronic music from Central and Eastern Europe.” “A major mission of Oramics has been establishing safe space policies in Polish clubs, and monitoring their progress,” she wrote. In July 2019, Poland's electronic music community, including Oramics, called for global support following a spate of anti-LGBTQ+ violence in the country.
Avtomat contributed a track, ‘Ignorance Ha’, to Oramics’ massive, 126-track, ‘TOTAL SOLIDARITY’ compilation in August 2019, with all proceeds from the digital sales going toward Polish queer organizations: Kampania Przeciw Homofobii and Miłość Nie Wyklucza. The compilation also featured contributions from Violet, Lee Gamble, Loraine James, Jacek Sienkiewicz, TSVI, rkss, Borusiade, Kamil Szuszkiewicz, Air Max '97 and many, many more.
According to a tweet from Oramics this morning, the collective hadn’t heard from Avtomat since 10pm last night, but they were of the understanding that he had a lawyer.
Stop Bzdurom are currently raising funds for lawyers and a forthcoming queer campaign, expected to launch next month. Support them here.