A petition to reopen one of Armenia’s largest techno institutions, Poligraf, has been launched after the venue was raided by police over the weekend.
Poligraf was raided in the early hours of Sunday morning, just an hour into Saturday’s event — Clubnight with yutani, èki & St. Nuriar. Police entered the venue at around 1:AM without legal grounds to enter, the club claims.
The “brutal” raid was said to have been an attack on the civil rights of those inside, staff and punters included, and was likened by the club to the attacks on Bassiani and Café Gallery in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2018.
According to Poligraf, staff and attendees were both physically attacked by police and later strip-searched when held in custody. No reason was given for the club’s raid. CCTV videos of the raid were posted on social media by the club.
“It comes as devastating news to us that Yerevan’s most notable techno club, Poligraf, was raided and sealed by the state armed forces last Saturday, exactly the way it happened in Tbilisi in 2018,” Poligraf explained in a statement on Instagram yesterday.
“Poligraf is a space of devoted community that’s wholeheartedly experiencing, practising, and bringing new life to the youth and non-dominant culture of Armenia.”
A petition has been launched to gain support from the public and “defend dance”, demanding the State of Armenia to “reopen the doors of Poligraf”. More than 1,000 signatures have so far been collected of a goal of 1,500.
“It’s not just the individuals who were directly impacted by the raid who have suffered,” the club explained. “The entire club community is at risk, and the very foundation of our society is at stake.”
“The raid represents an attack on dance, on creativity, on diversity, and on inclusion. Poligraf is a space where people can come together, dance, connect, and share their experiences.”
They added: “Our club creates a vibrant and dynamic cultural scene that benefits not just our society, but the economy as well. If we do not take immediate action, we risk losing this essential cultural hub forever.”
Sign Poligraf’s petition here.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins