EuroPride slams Georgian government ‘incompetence’ after Tbilisi Pride attack

A group of anti-LGBTQ+ protestors stormed Tbilisi Pride in Georgia and set fire to rainbow flags.

A major European LGBTQ+ association is demanding that the Georgian government be held accountable after Tbilisi Pride was attacked by “thugs” earlier this month.

Participants at Tbilisi Pride, which was held in the former Soviet republic on 8 July, were evacuated after the event was stormed by thousands of anti-LGBTQ+ protestors. The organisers said the decision to cancel the event was taken because authorities failed to maintain the perimeter, allowing the protestors in.

Many of the protestors, including members of the Orthodox Christian clergy, waved the country’s national flag and religious icons while they scuffled with police. Pride flags were burned.

The European Pride Organisers Association is now demanding accountability for “hundreds of far-right nationalist thugs” being allowed to storm the event, despite the Ministry of Internal Affairs assuring them it would be safe.

Association president Kristīne Garina said the Georgian government “have shown that their assurances count for nothing and cannot be trusted”.

A group of anti-LGBTQ+ protestors stormed Tbilisi Pride in Georgia and clashed with authorities at the event
Right-wing, anti-LGBTQ+ protestors clash with police at Tbilisi Pride in Georgia. (Getty)

Not being able to prevent the far-right protestors and their actions leading to the event being cancelled “is the very height of incompetence in public office,” she said, adding it was also “a complete failure to perform the most important function of government: to protect your people”.

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She also noted how this was not a one-off, with other anti-LGBTQ+ incidents occurring at Pride in the Georgian capital in recent years.

In the immediate aftermath, Tbilisi Pride criticised law enforcement for failing to “use proportional force and measures against the attackers”, going as far as to allege that the attack was a “well-planned operation, orchestrated jointly” by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and a Russian-affiliated, far-right group.

Alexander Darakhvelidze, Georgia’s deputy interior minister, argued that the open area in which the event was held had been difficult to police and it meant the mob found ways to bypass security.

Georgia’s president, Salome Zourabichvili, condemned the mob, highlighting how parliamentary members and other branches of the ruling party had “instigated, tested, and openly supported” the anti-LGBTQ+ protestors through social media.

“By inciting these counter-protests and not condemning these actions or hate speech, the ruling party – the majority of the parliament – encourages the violence,” she said.

“I call on the ruling party to stop using hate speech and inciting confrontation.”

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