Henry Mercedes, an actor and a member of the Presidential Council on HIV/AIDS, said that he was among those who were detained at Arena by members of the local zone's tourist police (known locally as Politour) just as he was posting announcements about an upcoming human rights conference. Mercedes told the paper that when he requested information as to why he and others were being detained, the leading fiscal agent Julio Saba Encarnacion simply "pushed him inside" a correctional vehicle.
Officer Encarnacion, for his part, told Clave that Arena and Punto were causing "great noise pollution" at the time of the arrests, and alleged that the owners had also been found to run an illicit hotel and sauna inside the establishments, reasons why both would remain closed until the matter was brought to court.
Kelvin Martinez, who owns both Arena and Punto, said that noise could not have been a factor at the time of the arrests because the dance club was still closed at 11:55pm, time at which the police arrived - and that the sound system was not working properly anyway. He also told the paper that the only clients present were those drinking peacefully at the bar. The authorities "did not arrive with a court order and took everyone they saw, three employees were saved [from being detained] just because they hid," he added.
Asked about the detainees, Officer Encarnacion told the paper that some people were detained because they did not have identity cards with them and could have been minors being served in an adult establishment and because the bar staff had not followed public codes that established that all bars in the historic zone should close at 2am on weekend nights.
In the article, Mercedes says that he believes that the real reason for the police intervention was a report that appeared also in Clave on June 15th in which the owner of the two establishments accused the police of subjecting him to a series of bribes over the past few months [editor's note: I have not been able to find the previous article in Clave's archives]
Martinez told the paper that the police had yet to return his own keys to his establishments. He also stated, as Mercedes did, that he had been pushed into a correctional vehicle when he insisted that the police show him a judicial order, and claimed that he was beaten up during the ride: "It was shameful. They took the bar's few clients and alleged that it had to do with an investigation from the INTERPOL, as if we were stupid. We know what this is about and where the order came from."
According to Clave, another eight establishments were visited by the authorities that night, which resulted in the shutting down of a small shop called Omar and a sound system being removed from another straight bar
Diario Libre says that the number of detentions were 16 and that the interventions happened between 11pm and 3am. It also says that Martinez was not allowed to make any phone calls form jail.
El Nacional says that Martinez put the number of detained individuals at 35 including a DJ, a bouncer, a bartender and a cashier and that the establishment always asks patrons for ID's to avoid serving minors.
- Gay pride in the Dominican Republic (June 21, 2006)
- There might be a pride rally in DR after all (June 22, 2006)
- An update (of sorts): Friday night's gathering in Santo Domingo (June 27, 2006)