A Pride march has been cancelled in the capital city of Tbilisi in Georgia after the Tbilisi Pride headquarters was stormed in a violent demonstration by far-right groups on Monday, July 5, reports The Guardian.
Among the victims of the demonstration were journalists who were reportedly beaten by protestors. The number of injured parties is considered to be as high as 20. Witnesses to the attack mention seeing anti-gay protestors scaling the three-storey building where Tbilisi Pride’s headquarters are while other demonstrators wore priests’ clothing as they beat journalists, reports The Guardian.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili blamed the Pride organisers themselves for attempting to hold a march that would have caused “civil confrontation”. Other members of parliament have expressed their support for Garibashvili’s view.
International condemnation has been expressed following the attacks in Tbilisi, with foreign political figures tweeting their support. Minister of Foreign Affairs for Sweden, Ann Linde, tweeted, “Everyone has a right to equality and dignity, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Doctor Nelson Dordelly Rosales, the Special Advisor to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of Venezuela tweeted his support saying, “Everyone no matter of race, political views, gender or sexual orientation has the right to enjoy fundamental human rights.”
The United Nations Human Rights office tweeted out with their condemnation of the violent demonstration. The UN office says, “We call on Georgia to protect participants in peaceful assemblies, and to investigate violence & discrimination against [LGBTQIA+] people. Those responsible must be held accountable.”
Georgia has a history of Pride events being attacked; in 2013, priests took to the streets chanting “no gays” in protest to a Pride event. Pride marches only tentatively returned to Tbilisi in 2019 where they have been met with counter-protests from the far-right.
In the face of abject hate, the organisers of Tbilisi Pride have found an international and domestic community that continues to stand up against anti-LGBTQIA+ rights. Following the march that was cancelled due to the assaults, Georgian residents gathered together in solidarity to express their pride.
Tbilisi Pride said, “Today our allies organised solidarity demonstration to condemn violence and to protect the freedom of expression of everyone. We could not have the pride march yesterday but we had this today.”