June 13, 2024

On Saturday, up to 2,000 anti-LGBT protestors crashed a gay pride festival in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, causing it to be canceled.

Right-wing protestors, including Orthodox Christian clergy, clashed with police, stormed the stage, and set fire to rainbow banners.

The organizers and Georgia’s president blamed the event on anti-LGBT hate speech and alleged the police had failed to safeguard festival-goers.

Homophobia is still prevalent in Georgia.

LGBT+ Pride event in Georgia evacuated as far-right protesters storm site –  POLITICO

President Salome Zurabishvili stated that the ruling Georgian Dream party neglected to denounce its supporters who openly incited violence against LGBT activists.

However, Interior Minister Alexander Darakhvelidze claimed that the wide area had been difficult to patrol.

“This was an open area, participants of the protest managed to bypass the security and find other ways to enter the event area,” he told reporters.

“However, we were able to evacuate the Pride festival participants and organizers from the area, no matter what.”

In 2021, far-right protestors forcefully disrupted a Pride festival in Tbilisi, assaulting journalists and LGBT campaigners.

Mariam Kvaratskhelia, the organizer of 2023 Pride, said there had been a “mass mobilization” of far-right groups ahead of this year’s festival. She claimed that the groups were “openly inciting violence.”

“We’ve been telling the ministry of interior and the police to start investigation immediately but they did not do it,” she was quoted as saying by Reuters.

She also claimed that the protest was a “coordinated action between the government and radical groups… in order to sabotage Georgia’s EU candidacy,” however she provided no particular evidence for this assertion.

Opponents accuse the Georgian Dream government of favoring Moscow, despite Georgia’s long-held desire to join the EU.

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