Tbilisi Pride march cancelled after far right attack on headquarters

Tbilisi Pride in Georgia was cancelled after violent far-right homophobes stormed the organisers office and unleashed a wave of violence across the capital city.

Split screen of men climbing a balcony and ripping a rainbow flag. Tbilisi Pride was cancelled following the far right attack

The Tbilisi Pride march in Georgia was cancelled yesterday (June 5) after a mob of far-right homophobes scaled a building in order to storm the Pride organisers office. The march was due to take place yesterday afternoon but was cancelled just hours before as the violence broke out in the capital. 

The violent scenes came just days after the Orthodox Church in Georgia condemned Tbilisi Pride as an attempt “to legalise grave sin.”

In an upsetting video posted to social media, a group of men can be seen climbing the three-storey building in order to gain access to the organisers’ office. The men climb onto the balcony and takedown Pride flags to cheers and yells from an onlooking mob.

The men then enter the building and destroy the office. Tamaz Sozashvili, the co-founder of Tbilisi Pride, shared a video on Twitter of their ransacked offices, highlighting the extent of the destruction.

Elsewhere in the violent crowd of homophobes, men dressed as priests punched and kicked journalists, with as many as 20 injured. One journalist reported being beaten with a stick as violence escalated, while others had their cameras and equipment broken by the far-right mob.

A video widely shared on social media shows a man on a scooter driving at a group of journalists, who were forced to jump out of the way at the last minute.

Prime minister Irakli Garibashvili blamed the outbreak of violence on the LGBTQ+ community at a cabinet meeting on Monday, saying it was “unreasonable” for them to stage a Pride March.

“Holding of the so-called Pride march is not reasonable as it creates a threat of civil confrontation,” he said, adding that such events are “unacceptable for a large segment of the Georgian society.” 

After cancelling the march, Pride organisers said that “war was declared against civil society and democratic values. The actions of the government have clearly shown that they don’t want to perform its direct duty. The inaction of the executive power has put the health and lives of Georgian citizens in real danger.”

This is not the first time that Tbilisi Pride has been cancelled due to threats from the far-right. In 2019 the Pride march was called off due to anti-LGBTQ+ counter-protests after the secret location for the parade was leaked online. 

Before the march was cancelled, Tbilisi Pride’s four-day festival kicked off last week with a film screening, which was a success despite members of an ultra-nationalist mob being detained after they threw stones and eggs at people.

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