About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 22:43 - 30 Nov.'15
'No to Theocracy' Rally Amid Counter Demo
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 May.'13 / 23:47

Demonstrators hold banners reading: ‘No to Theocracy’ and ‘No to Darkness’. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

A week after Orthodox clergy-led crowd violently attacked an attempted anti-homophobia rally, several hundred people gathered in downtown Tbilisi park on May 24 under the slogan ‘No to Theocracy’ to protest against violence and to speak out against what they believe is the Georgian Orthodox Church’s attempts to claim supremacy over the state.

In the same park a parallel rally was held by counter-demonstrators, who said they were gathered to protest against “propaganda” of homosexuality on the one hand and on the other to speak out in defense of the Georgian Church and Orthodoxy; some carried banners calling for “ban of propaganda of sexual wrongness and indecency”; one Orthodox priest at counter demo said he was protesting against “LGBTization in Georgia.”

There was a heavy police presence in the park.

Counter-protesters tried to occupy the area in the park where ‘no to theocracy’ demonstrators were planning to gather, but they were prevented by the police. Counter-demonstrators were booing and some shouting homophobic slurs as ‘no to theocracy’ demonstrators were arriving on the venue at the monument to mother tongue.

Participants of counter demonstration shout slogans and carry a banner calling for “ban of propaganda of sexual wrongness and indecency”. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

In the aftermath of the May 17 violence debates went far beyond LGBT rights and grew into broader and intense discussions about the role of the influential Georgian Orthodox Church. Some commentators and observers suggest that intended gay rights rally in the country, where anti-gay prejudice runs deep, was just a pretext for the Georgian Church to mobilize supporters in the street which in fact aimed at demonstrating Church’s power.

In the lead up to ‘no to theocracy’ rally, an online petition was launched, which attracted more than 13,400 signatures, saying that the May 17 violence by the Orthodox clergy-led protesters was the attack not only against LGBT groups “but also against the Georgian statehood.” It says that cost of “inaction” of the authorities in the face of the May 17 developments will be too high for the Georgian statehood and calls on the government to prosecute all the perpetrators and instigators.

Among four men, who have been charged with criminal offense over the May 17 developments, are two Orthodox priests; charges involve “encroachment of right to assembly and manifestation”.

Meanwhile earlier on May 23 representatives of Identoba and Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group – the two organizations behind attempted May 17 anti-homophobia rally, as well as representatives from legal advocacy and watchdog group Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and the Public Defender’s Office met with head of Patrol Police Davit Tsinaridze to discuss increased number of homophobic incidents following the May 17 violence.

The Public Defender’s Office said that the rights groups had expressed need for more efficient response from the law enforcement agencies, which would help increase confidence of LGBT people towards these agencies and encourage reporting of homophobic incidents to the police.

The Public Defender’s Office also said that the rights groups proposed close cooperation with the police in order to tackle discrimination against sexual minorities through joint efforts of the state and the civil society. “It has been proposed [by the rights groups] to set up a joint working group to provide coordinated efforts in this direction,” Public Defender’s Office said, adding that the Patrol Police chief “expressed readiness for active cooperation.”

Latest News
30 Nov.'15 22:43
GD Proposes Bill on Electoral Redistricting
Bill, redrawing electoral map, aims at narrowing disparity in size of single-mandate constituencies.
30 Nov.'15 11:38
October GDP Growth 3% Preliminary Data
Economy grew 2.8% y/y in the first ten months of 2015, according to Geostat.
28 Nov.'15 17:06
2015 State Budget Revise
This year’s state budget was revised for the second time in past four months.
28 Nov.'15 13:55
Deputy Chief of Security Agency Says About 50 Georgians Fight in Syria
They are subject of criminal prosecution in Georgia, Deputy Head of State Security Service said.
27 Nov.'15 20:51
Georgian, German Defense Ministers Meet in Berlin
In Berlin Khidasheli also met Chancellor Merkel’s foreign and security policy adviser Christoph Heusgen.
27 Nov.'15 17:48
Parliament Confirms New Chief Prosecutor
Irakli Shotadze, 32, became new chief prosecutor for a six-year term.
27 Nov.'15 15:41
EUR 100m EU Assistance Package for Georgia
New assistance package aims at supporting reforms related to the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
26 Nov.'15 23:49
Informal Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting Held in Tbilisi
Ministers and senior officials from the foreign and healthcare ministries of EaP countries met in Tbilisi.
26 Nov.'15 23:13
Italy Ratifies EU-Georgia Association Agreement
Italy became the 27th EU-member state to ratify the treaty with Georgia.
26 Nov.'15 17:55
European Parliament Debates on Georgia
About two dozen MEPs spoke during hour-long debates in Strasbourg on November 25.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2015, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.