PM Bidzina Ivanishvili has condemned violence, that erupted after anti-gay protesters, led by Orthodox clergy, thwarted a rally against homophobia in downtown Tbilisi, and vowed that perpetrators “will be dealt with according to the law”.
PM Ivanishvili’s English-language written statement reads: “The right to gather peacefully and to freely express one's opinion is fundamental to our democracy. Every Georgian citizen benefits fully and equally from this right. Acts of violence, discrimination and restriction of the rights of others will not be tolerated, and any perpetrators of such acts will be dealt with according to the law.”
“More than 2000 police officers had been deployed to prevent clashes between the small contingent of LGBTI demonstrators and counter-demonstrators. They were however overwhelmed by the turn-out of several thousand counter-demonstrators, some of whom engaged in violence, broke through the police cordons and attempted to physically assault the LBGTI representatives. In order to ensure the security of the rally participants, special forces transported them to an alternative location.”
Public Defender, Ucha Nanuashvili, said that the police failed to take “proper measures” to secure holding of a rally by gay rights activists.