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Chaotic Scenes as Orthodox Groups Thwart Gay Rights Rally

Police failed to contain anti-gay, Orthodox activists, who broke through police cordon and moved to the venue where gay rights activists were going to hold a rally to mark the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17.

Gay rights activists had to change the initially announced venue of the rally after area outside the former parliament building on Rustaveli Avenue was filled by thousands of Orthodox activists, led by priests.

A small area adjacent to Freedom Square, about three hundred meters from the former parliament building, was chosen as an alternative venue for the rally against homophobia.

There was heavy police presence, who erected fences to block counter demonstrators to approach the anti-homophobia rally; but it turned insufficient to contain large number of Orthodox activists, who push their way towards the Freedom Square, followed by chaotic scenes.

After Orthodox activists broke through police cordon several buses were immediately deployed at the anti-homophobia rally by the police to evacuate its participants from the scene.

In one scene a van, purportedly carrying anti-homophobia rally participants, was attacked and its windows smashed by counter demonstrators; stones were also thrown and several persons, including one journalists and a policemen, sustained injuries.


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