The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) will no longer be marked in Tbilisi, the Equality Movement, a Tbilisi-based LGBT rights organization, announced yesterday evening, after hours of tense negotiations with gay rights activists and partner organizations.
The decision follows the announcement of several parallel rallies by the Georgian Orthodox Church and two demonstrations by Neo-Nazi Georgian National Unity and ultranationalist March of the Georgians, all on the Rustaveli Avenue, just three hundred meters away from the intended IDAHOT event – in front of the Government administration.
“We have a reasonable suspicion that these groups are trying to trigger tensions and civil confrontation in the city, which is confirmed by the fact that, despite our efforts not to match their activity schedule on ours, they have changed their plans and fixed it to our schedule,” reads the Equality Movement’s statement.
“Recognizing the threats, we decided to take a very difficult, but united and consolidated decision that this time we will compromise our constitutional right to freedom of expression and cancel the peaceful rally in front of the Government building not to support these groups in triggering tensions,” it also said.
There are, however, reports that some gay rights activists and their supporters still plan to gather at the intended venue – in front of the Government building – in solidarity with the gay community.
The March of the Georgians activists plan to gather in their individual capacity as well, despite the decision of their leaders to call off the announced rally next to the Parliament building, few hundred meters from the Government administration. Earlier, Sandro Bregadze, one of the leaders of the organization, said they would cancel their demonstration, if their opponents decided so as well.