Event that would take place on Monday was suspended when groups tried to invade the headquarters of the organizers
A march organized by LGBTQIA+ entities was canceled due to violence by conservative groups in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, this Monday (4).
Activists were planning a five-day event to celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride, including a “March for Dignity” in central Tbilisi. Before the march started, conservatives took to the streets in order to attack the protesters, who then canceled the event.
On Twitter, many people posted photos and videos of people trying to break into the headquarters of the entity coordinating the march.
“We are just trying to survive and avoid the people who are wandering the streets,” said Tbilisi Pride director Giorgi Tabagari, referring to the attackers chasing protesters through the streets. He also said that he was “almost killed” when a mob surrounded his car as he left the UN (United Nations Organization) building in central Tbilisi after a meeting.
Journalists covering the demonstrations were also harassed and attacked. A reporter left the scene with blood in his mouth, and a man on a motorcycle was seen chasing a group of journalists. Three other local media professionals were chased and only managed to escape with the help of the police.
After the protest was cancelled, conservatives sang patriotic songs to celebrate, and a mass was said in front of the Parliament building.
Opposition to the march came Georgia's religious leaders, who condemned the demonstration and called on their supporters to "show the world that any attempt to tarnish the image of our people is totally unacceptable." Pastors were among the attackers on Monday, according to the organization's Openly website.
The Georgian government, through the Ministry of Interior, said the march should be canceled to "avoid violence". Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said that "it would not be reasonable" to carry out the march, citing the risk of clashes and the fact that the demonstration is not accepted by the majority of the population.