Police began to receive phone calls around 9:30 p.m. from people saying that a group of aggressive young men had entered the club 7freedays, located in a basement on Milyutinsky Pereulok in central Moscow, and started a fight, an unidentified police official told Interfax.
The club, which on its website describes itself as the “first gay and lesbian friendly bar in Russia,” was holding an event in honour of international Coming Out Day.
Police arrived at the club after the men had fled the scene and interviewed witnesses.
It was unclear whether a criminal case had been opened in connection with the incident. The Moscow police website had no information about the attack on the club as of Friday afternoon.
Unidentified police officials told Life News that the attackers were dressed in dark clothes and medical masks and that many of them had shaved heads.
A witness in the club at the time of the raid told the tabloid that the men threw acid on him. Other witnesses said the group struck club-goers repeatedly over the course of five to six minutes, turned over tables and threw bottles, then fled.
Earlier this week, nationalist Orthodox organization the People’s Council called for the closure of all gay clubs in Moscow as part of an effort to prohibit the “promotion of homosexuality.”
The People’s Council believes that Moscow lawmakers should follow the example set by their counterparts in St. Petersburg and other Russian cities, where the “promotion of homosexuality to minors” has already been banned.
Moscow has around 10 gay or gay-friendly bars and clubs, according to various Internet listings.
Gay rights leader Nikolai Alexeyev said in a commentary piece on Gayrussia.eu that he thought such attacks took place because the perpetrators felt they would not be punished.