Kyiv club HVLV has been subject to an attack by far-right activists, leaving one bouncer injured. The group Catharsis is suspected to be responsible. The movement has previously claimed to be staging a "crusade" against venues in the district of Podil, which it accuses of selling illegal substances in-house. Venues Closer and ∄ were also targeted.
An Instagram post by Ecke Records, the Berlin crew which were hosting an event in HVLV that night, stated those responsible for the assault "destroyed the bouncer's vision with multiple bear spray attacks, [and] beat him with a police baton". Perpetrators are said to have shouted homophobic and racist slurs.
The injured bouncer is expected to make a complete recovery, and no-one else was seriously injured in the incident. Some protestors reportedly attempted to break down a door leading to a bar in the building's basement, resulting in punters and staff being locked inside for their own protection.
A video was posted to the Catharsis Telegram channel showing a march held on Friday 26th November. This then escalated into a raid "against drug addicts" at the club. The clip shows firecrackers exploding at the entrance to HVLV, with some in the crowd shouting: "Down with the drug den".
According to the venue's co-owner, Andriy Yankovsky, the crowd was largely made up of young people aged between 14 and 16 years old. CCTV footage has since been shared online showing the extent of the attack.
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More than 20 witness statements were made to police, who arrived after protestors left the area. A further 50 reports were then filed when a crowd returned to the address, where a card with a QR code and the word 'CENTURIA' was found, directing people to a far-right Telegram group. Ten people have been detained by authorities.
"It happened as we set up for sound check - broken glass flying around the room, pepper spray coming in through the smashed windows accompanied by rocks," the Ecke Records statement read. "The incident lasted around 2m30s as they must’ve got word that police were coming."
“In general, it’s very scary to work, when at any moment you can be flooded with a bunch of completely inadequate guys who throw incomprehensible objects and smoke bombs, break the door to the institution and do not give us the opportunity to work. This combined with zero back up, support or protection from the police despite dozens of complaints that were filed. Complete inaction, indifference and unwillingness to even react in any way, ” said Katya Voychuk , HVLV’s communications manager, in a news story published by Nighttime.org.
“We utterly condemn the violent threats and slander against dance music communities in Kyiv. This is simply terrorism. We call on the police to protect freedom of expression, not freedom of Neonazism. We stand in solidarity with venues HVLV, Closer and ∄," Vilnius Nightlife Alliance said, showing support for the Ukrainian capital's club scene.
The attack follows a string of threats against venues and club goers from far-right activists in Kyiv, where tensions have been mounting between anti-club protestors and the nightlife community. An earlier attack against the three venues occurred on 6th November, with dozens marched, throwing eggs and flower. The use of white-power slogans was also observed.
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In July, a rave for LGBTQ+ rights was announced for Kyiv in a bid to push back against what many consider to be increasing anti-gay propaganda and the government's lack of condemnation for homophobic legislation drafted by the ruling party. Among other artists, Nechto label boss Nastia was billed to play.