Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili lashed out today at activists willing to hold Tbilisi Pride march, noting that “when 95% of our population are against holding propagandistic parade in a demonstrative manner, we shall all obey that, [my] friends.”
He said “this is the opinion of our population, and we, the government elected by the people, shall obey that.” “The only parade I know, that will be held in our country, is that of our army,” the PM declared.
Touching upon the Pride March of July 5, which was canceled amid massive homophobic violence and the lack of safety guarantees from the government side, PM Garibashvili claimed that one of the co-organizers, Shame Movement, is run by ex-President Mikheil “Saakashvili’s organizations.” The Georgian PM argued “a wide-scale civil confrontation was in plans … aiming [to oblige] the state use [police] force against its citizens.”
He said that the authorities had “assessed” these risks, and warned the Tbilisi Pride organizers that holding a march on Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, “was provocative, and impermissible.”
The attacks that took place during that day were “very unfortunate,” PM Garibashvili argued, but added that “violence happens everywhere,” citing as example riots in the U.S. and France.
Tbilisi Pride, activist group behind now-cancelled pride march, dubbed the Prime Minister’s remarks as “homophobic” and “anti-state.” The group said by laying responsibility on July 5 violence on Tbilisi Pride and civic activists, PM Garibashvili “once again encouraged violence against us.”
The LGBT rights group also asserted that the Prime Minister understands the idea of democracy “in an extremely primittive way.” “Democracy is the rule of majority, in which the rights of minorities, despite their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, confession, religious, social, ideological or other belongings, are protected and guaranteed,” noted Tbilisi Pride.
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