Int’l Reactions to Tbilisi Violence, Pride Cancellation

The international community has denounced violence that erupted on July 5 during the anti-Pride rally in Tbilisi, also the attacks on journalists and called for holding wrongdoers accountable.

Ned Price, U.S. State Department Spokesperson stressed that “Georgia’s leaders and law enforcement are obligated to protect the Constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly and prosecute those participating in violence.”

The United Nations Human Rights Office condemned “threats and assaults at Tbilisi Pride 2021 venues on journalists and organizers,” also calling on Georgian authorities to protect participants in peaceful assemblies, and to investigate violence and discrimination against LGBT+ people.

CoE Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović dubbed the violence spree a “woeful illustration of repeated threats LGBTI people face in Georgia.” She reminded Georgian authorities of human rights obligations “to uphold free expression and assembly, ensure demonstrators and journalists’ safety and punish the perpetrators of attacks.”

“We condemn the violent clashes today ahead of Tbilisi Pride 2021, leading to its cancellation after threats to the LGBTI community and attacks on journalists. Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must be ensured and protected by the state,” said Daniel Holtgen, CoE Spokesperson.

OSCE/ODIHR also voiced concern over the violence and the cancellation of the Pride March, supposed to be held yesterday. “Each of these targeted attacks against activists, journalists, and their property must be swiftly and thoroughly investigated,” it stressed.

“Violence and threats aagainst journalists and LGBTI, including pride, are unacceptable,” stated Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands, calling on Georgian leaders and law enforcement to “protect those who exercise their Constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression.”

“When Georgian leaders, instead of acting in their mandate as guarantors of Constitution, speculate with this topic and fail to properly condemn the perpetrators, they only encourage the violence,” noted MEP Viola von Cramon (The Greens/EFA, Germany). “When a violent group beats up journalists and LGBT+ [people] while the Georgian Government watches, it is a dangerous sign of crumbling rule of law,” she added in another tweet.

Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia argued that “instead of planning for this turn of events and providing a robust response to violence, the government deployed inadequately small numbers of policemen who were only reacting to violent attacks, rather than providing an organized protection for LGBTI activists.”

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