Notorious alt-right, anti-LGBTQ and Russia-friendly Alt Info group — which operates a namesake TV and Conservative Movement party — has called “mobilization” not to allow the forthcoming Tbilisi Pride Festival to take place.
Konstantine Morgoshia, one of the leaders of the group, said today the Alt Info “can bring out several thousand people… who will be joined by other people as well,” to rally against the Festival planned as part of the June 28 – July 2 Pride Week.
Asked what the group’s response would be if law enforcers try to protect the event, Morgoshia said “there is no law above the will of the people… police will not go against the will of the people.”
“There will be so many of us, there will be no point in defending anything, they will not come,” he warned, without specifying whether he meant the police, or the participants of the Pride Festival.
Morgoshia also argued that since Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili took office in February 2021, “his every statement is in line with the will of the absolute majority of the Georgian people.”
“I am sure that the PM in this case as well, will stand with the absolute majority of the Georgian people,” he added.
- July 12, 2021: Garibashvili on LGBT Pride: “95% Against Propagandistic Parade”
- July 5, 2021: PM Says Pride March ‘Unreasonable,’ Organized by ‘Radical Opposition’
Earlier, on May 31, after the Tbilisi Pride announced the week of LGBTQ rights events, said in a Facebook post — taken down since — that the Alt Info group would begin the mobilization and warned that “we will see what kind of festival you will have a wish [to hold] at the end of June.”
Another leader of the anti-LGBTQ group, Irakli Martinenko said following an “emergency meeting” of the Conservative Movement today that as part of the “necessary mobilization” the outfit will use the month ahead of the Pride event for a “counter-attack.”
He elaborated that the group will “hold minor events aimed at forming [public] attitude” ahead of the Pride Festival.
Meanwhile, Giorgi Kardava, Chair of the Conservative Movement party claimed in a briefing after the group’s meeting that holding the Pride event served to cause “massive disturbance and agitation” to eventually drag Georgia into the war in Ukraine.
He claimed that a “political party,” alluding to the United National Movement, as well as “well-known” forces — possibly referring to the West — were behind the efforts to cause “certain unrests in the country and redistribute power.”
Tbilisi Pride Talks Impunity
“The fact that we still hear threats is clearly linked with impunity, which we have spoken about for the year since the events of July 5,” Ana Subeliani, Co-Director of Tbilisi Pride said today.
She said that the Tbilisi Pride expects an “immediate” reaction from the Interior Ministry.
Meanwhile, Mariam Kvaratskhelia, another co-director argued that the alt-right group’s pledge not to allow holding the festival at a private venue showed that “they not only take an issue with [us] coming out to the streets, but have a problem with our existence…”
The alt-right group rose to prominence after spearheading several counter-protests against the Tbilisi Pride Week of 2021. A counter rally on July 5, 2021, soon devolved into a series of violent events that continued through the next day.
While 26 people have been imprisoned for attacking journalists covering the homophobic pogroms, the authorities have yet to identify and bring charges against anyone for organizing the violence.
Public Defender Nino Lomjaria called on the Prosecutor’s Office in September 2021, to launch proceedings against Zurab Makharadze, one of the Alt Info leaders and Spiridon Tskipurishvili, a clergyman, over organizing group violence.
Police had searched the houses of Makharadze as well as the other leaders of the group and took them for questioning on July 16, without any further developments, however.
- ECHR Says Georgia Complicit in 2013 Mob Attack on LGBT Activists
- Alt-Right Inaugurates Anti-Liberal, Russia-Friendly Party
- ‘And Then We Danced’ Opens amid Protests