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Posts for May, 2013

Orthodox Priests Lead Violent Attack On LGBT Rights Rally in Tbilisi, Georgia

Jim Burroway

May 17th, 2013

Orthodox priests led a mob of anti-gay extremist in a violent confrontation with LGBT rights marchers in the Georgian capitol of Tbilisi in observance of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Georgian police, which had been charged with protecting the pro-gay march, were forced to evacuate the fifty marchers onto buses as 10,000 Orthodox Christians began pressing against police lines:

But heavy police cordons failed to contain furious anti-gay activists led by priests, who rushed to the new gay parade location. Upon breaking into the public garden, the agitated crowd engaged in a violent pursuit, beating and throwing stones at all the people who were thought to be representing and advocating for the minorities.

At least 28 people were injured in clashes, and 14 of them hospitalized, Georgian Minister of Health David Sergeenko said. A journalist suffering blunt force trauma to the head and a passer-by who had his leg broken were among the injured.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said  that LGBT people “have the same rights as any other social groups” in Georgia. When Georgian authorities announced that they would provide protection for the pro-LGBT rally after last year’s violent confrontations, Georgian Patriarch Ilya II said that the rally would be “an insult to Georgian morals” and described homosexuality as an “anomaly and illness.” According to the BBC,:

The Patriarch is by far the most respected public figure in Georgia, with approval ratings consistently at around 90%. All the anti-gay demonstrators our correspondent spoke to said the Patriarch’s comments had inspired them to attend Friday’s protest, which was organised with the help of Orthodox priests.

LGBT Rights March Broken Up In Tbilisi, Georgia

Jim Burroway

May 17th, 2012

Orthodox priest confronts pride marchers in Tbilisi, Georgia (Photo via the Russian web site Anti-Dogma.)

Religious protesters, including Orthodox priests, broke up a march commemorating the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi today. About 20 pro-LGBT marchers paraded through the main street of Tbilisi when they were confronted by anti-gay protesters who blocked the marchers and began fighting.

“This shows that Tbilisi has a long way to go to become a modern European city. We expected a negative reaction but did not expect to be attacked,” one of the march’s organisers, Natia Gvianishvili of rights group Identoba, told AFP.

Police intervened when the fight broke out and at least three people have been detained. Georgia’s Parliament-appointed human righst ombudsman called for tolerance:

Georgian ombudsman Giorgi Tugushi said that politicians should address gay, lesbian and transgender issues because “only in this case it will become possible for our state and society to develop in a democratic and liberal direction.”

“The development of tolerant values is one of the most important preconditions for the formation of democratic society,” Tugushi said in a statement.

You can find more photos of the march at the Russian crowd-sourced web site Anti-Dogma.