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Solidarity Rally in Aftermath of Sabotaged Pride in Georgia
07 July 2021
‘March for Dignity’, supposed to take place on June 5th in Tbilisi, was put in in jeopardy when hundreds of counter demonstrators gathered at the location of the event and things took a violent turn, with about fifty journalists attacked as well as a couple of bystanders and tourists. Some of anti-Pride campaigners went straight to the office of Tbilisi Pride, Georgian civil society group. Unable to get inside, they paved their way through the building’s balcony; having gotten there, they first started ripping and burning rainbow flags and then ransacking everything they could get their hands on inside.

In the aftermath of the events of that day the organizers found they had no other option but to call off the march altogether out of fear for the safety of potential participants. They explained their decision as follows: “We do not expect the Interior Ministry to adequately perform its duty, as we see that they are not responding to the violence taking place in front of them, and the huge wave of hate that we are watching right now is inspired and supported by the government and Patriarchate”.

A number of embassies, UN and EU offices in Georgia condemned the attacks on journalists and activists along with the government and religious leaders’ reaction to the situation in a joint statement. The Eastern European Coalition for LGBT+ Equality, of which Russian LGBT Network is a member, and the Swedish Federation for LGBTQI Rights (RFSL) also came forward with a joint statement calling both the Georgian authorities and the international community to action.

Later, on the evening of June 6th, a ‘silent rally’ in sign of solidarity with journalists and queer activists took place in front of the Georgian parliament. However, just nearby, across the cordon lines, anti-LGBTQ+ and far-right demonstrators organized their ‘counter-rally’. Several of them attempted to cut through to get to the gathering by the parliament itself to disrupt it, but were held back by the police, arrests ensued. Nonetheless, once the ‘silent rally’ was over, the counter demonstrators returned and demonstrably burnt an EU flag.

It is worth pointing out that approximately seven thousand people took part in the ‘silent rally’. With all things considered, this can still be characterized as a win in its own way. The ideas of acceptance, mutual respect, and equality were voiced strongly over the homophobia and ignorance of the few.

We would like to express our support toward the
Georgian queer community. Keep fighting for the world you believe in; world, in
which discrimination has no place — you are being heard.

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