The Interior Ministry said the police detained 11 persons for disobeying police orders and hooliganism during the protest rally against the Georgian premiere of “And Then We Danced”, a Georgian-Swedish film with gay protagonists.
In a statement released earlier on November 8, the Interior Ministry called on all citizens to observe the law, adding that the police will respond to all violations in the strictest manner.
The radical protesters, who gathered outside Amirani Cinema have scuffled with the police, and have verbally harassed and – in several cases – assaulted the moviegoers.
Davit Berdzenishvili, leader of the Republican Party, who came out in solidarity with moviegoers, became one of the targets of radical crowd’s attack. Protesters also threw a heavy item – supposedly a stone – at civic activist Ana Sulebiani who was hospitalized with a trauma to her head.
Commenting on the today’s protest, Sandro Bregadze, one of its organizers, said that “the entire world saw how the film was screening amid heavy police presence. The protest will continue without any violence.”
“I protected my dignity as much as I could,” Levan Vasadze, another organizer of the rally, said.
The film will be screening for two more days, while the radical groups plan to keep protesting.
Sandro Bregadze, leader of ultranationalist Georgian March group, served as Deputy Minister in Diaspora Issues under Georgian Dream administration in 2014-16. Prior to that, Bregadze held the position of Deputy Minister of of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories. In the wake of his political career, Sandro Bregadze was a member of The Democratic Revival Union party of Aslan Abashidze, feudal renegade ruler of Georgia’s Adjara region. The party disbanded soon after Abashidze fled to Moscow in May 2004.
Levan Vasadze, self-styled “knight” is Georgian ultraconservative with connections to Russian “Eurasianist” movement and its leader Alexander Dugin. In June, ahead of planned Tbilisi Pride, Vasadze formed “men only” vigilante patrols equipped “with belts” to fight against “gay propaganda” and threatened Georgia’s shadow ruler Bidzina Ivanishvili saying “we will break through any cordon, we will overwhelm you!”. The Ministry of Interior kicked-off investigation into the case, however, no charges have yet been filed.