“If there was some street fight, the state stopped it,” said Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili today, grilled by reporters on the government’s measures to hold accountable the organizers and perpetrators of July 5 homophobic pogroms that ended in attacks on 55 persons, including 53 journalists.
The PM asserted the authorities have “arrested all aggressors” of the counterprotest against Pride March, subsequently canceled due to lack of safety guarantees by the state.
PM Garibashvili also shot back at reporters of government-critical TV outlets, accusing them of using violence against him and of being “party activists.”
As of July 23, police have arrested 28 persons in connection with the counterprotests on July 5-6, including 24 for the attacks on journalists. The investigation is ongoing on charges of persecution, interference with journalists’ duties, and participation in organized group violence.
But law enforcement authorities have yet to bring forward charges of organizing the said violence, spurring criticism from government-critical media organizations that masterminds behind the homophobic pogroms are going free.
On July 16, police carried out searches in houses of key far-right figures that spearheaded the July 5-6 homophobic rallies, and took them for questioning, without any further details reported by the police.
Officers searched the estate of Guram Palavandishvili, founder of the Society for Children’s Rights and a key leader of the hate groups. They also searched the houses of five anchors of Alt-Info TV, an alt-right, Kremlin-friendly media outlet affiliated with ultraconservative leader Levan Vasadze.
All of those taken to questioning were let go afterward. Police did not make a statement as to whether the influential far-right figures are under investigation for organizing the group violence.
Alt-Info TV played a key role in announcing and providing coverage to the counterprotests against Pride Week, in the weeks leading up to the event.
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- Church Lambasts Tbilisi Pride, Ambassadors, Announces Counter Rally
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