an LGBT festival was disrupted in Tbilisi

In Tbilisi, a group of conservative activists disrupted the Tbilisi Pride Festival an hour before the event started. About it on Saturday, July 8, informed Kartuli paper.

According to the publication, around 300 supporters of the conservative Alt-Info movement and other right-wing parties in Georgia marched from the monument to Georgian poet Vazha-Pshavela to Lake Lisi, where the Tbilisi Pride festival was to be held on the adjacent land . territory. According to the organizers of the march, the purpose of their action was to prevent the holding of the LGBT festival.

The Tbilisi Pride Festival was announced as part of the “Pride Week” (Tbilisi Pride Week). According to Sputnik Georgia, the organizer of the event, which was to be held on the private territory of the Lisi Wonderland complex, was the NGO Tbilisi Pride, which supports the LGBTQ+ community. Entrance to the festival was for adults only and by registration.

Pogroms and riots

When the militants reached the site of the festival, they broke the barbed wire that protected the site, broke the police cordons and staged pogroms.

“Activists smash the stage, the installation, the bar, tear down posters and portraits. They make a bonfire with torn (LGBT) flags in front of the stage. The crowd rejoiced: they had disrupted the festival. The police are on the scene, but they are not controlling anything,” a Correspondent Paper Kartuli said from the scene.

Plus, protesters destroyed the sculptures and shops that were supposed to operate at the festival. Sputnik Georgia notes that LGBT opponents have openly insulted police officers and attempted to attack media workers. According to a Paper Kartuli correspondent on the spot, the police did not control the situation and did not interfere with the pogrom.

Police arrested several anti-LGBT protesters, transmits Sputnik Georgia in reference to the Formula TV channel. The number of detainees is not specified. According to the agency, at the site where the festival was to be held, was over a thousand police officers.

The organizers of the Tbilisi Pride Festival posted on social media that they were being evacuated from the venue and urged them not to come to the festival.

“We had to leave the territory. Law enforcement was unable to protect the territory. The evacuation was carried out on fixed-route taxis,” the statement said.

In a separate statement from the organizers regarding the disruption of the festival, it is said that “the attack was previously agreed upon by the Ministry of the Interior and the radical group Alt-info”.

In turn, Deputy Interior Minister of Georgia Alexander Darakhvelidze declared that the police used all possible resources to ensure security at the Pride festival. Despite this, “participants in the contraction were able to cross the cordons by circuitous routes”, underlined a representative of the Georgian Ministry of the Interior.

According to Darakhvelidze, it is impossible to ensure 100% security of the action when it takes place in an open space. He said the police are taking “measures to stabilize the situation and ensure the safety of individuals”.

“We were able to safely remove the organizers and participants from the territory, and they were not injured,” Darachvelidze added.

Attitude towards the LGBT community in Georgia

Pro-LGBT rights events have been taking place in Georgia since 2019. They are opposed by local conservatives, including right-wing activists and church representatives. In particular, the Georgian Patriarchate has declared that LGBT movements “are fundamentally contrary to Georgian culture”.

“July 8 will be the final nail in the coffin on July 5,” said Koka Morgoshia, leader of the conservative Alt-Info movement. He was referring to events in the summer of 2021, when protesters as part of Tbilisi Pride destroyed the office of LGBT activists in the Georgian capital and attacked journalists who had gathered to cover the action. Then more than 50 media representatives were injured, and the operator of the Pirveli TV channel, Alexander (Lekso) Lashkarava, also died.

According to Sova.news, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili warned that violence and incitement to aggression against representatives of the LGBT movement is unacceptable. According to her, the aggressive rhetoric against them is a challenge on the road to the European integration of the country.

At the same time, some Georgian banks blocked accounts through which funds were collected to organize anti-LGBT actions. Thus, on July 7, the Alt-Info movement announced that the National Bank of Georgia and the TBC Bank had blocked their accounts.

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