At least twenty journalists have been attacked by far-right hate groups gathered in a counter-rally against today’s Tbilisi Pride March, according to the latest reports.
In addition, Far-right crowds that gathered on Tbilisi’s main Rustaveli Avenue last night to prevent Tbilisi Pride March set for later today, dismantled tents erected by opposition and civic activists outside the Parliament building. According to media reports, police were largely absent from the area while radical groups tore apart protest tents.
The Interior Ministry has called on Tbilisi Pride activists not to hold today’s March “in a public space.”
Moreover, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said holding the March for Dignity today on Rustaveli Avenue is “unreasonable” as it contains risks of “civil confrontation,” and the majority of the populace finds it “unacceptable.” The PM also claimed the event is organized by “radical opposition” headed by Ex-President Saakashvili.
The statement came as hundreds had already gathered on Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare in a counter-rally called by Georgian Orthodox Church, as well as far-right and ultra-conservative groups.
Giorgi Tabagari, Tbilisi Pride Director, dubbed PM Garibashvili’s accusation that Saakashvili is pulling the strings “unbelievable.” “Shameful statement and highly irresponsible of PM, it only worsens the already tense situation,” tweeted the LGBTQ activist leader.
Georgia’s Public Defender has criticised Prime Minister Gharibashvili for ‘escalating the already tense situation’ leading to attacks on journalists. She said the PM had put all responsibility for any unrest on the organisers of Pride
A Human Rights Foundation spokesman told this website, “We join the international community in condemning today’s violence against Tbilisi Pride and supporters of LGBT+ rights in Georgia. Georgian authorities failed in their responsibility to protect peaceful protesters and those exercising their Freedom of Expression.