Saturday 8 July 2023
Despite assurances from Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs that authorities would ensure the safety of Tbilisi Pride, hundreds of far-right nationalist thugs were allowed by police to breach a cordon, storming the Pride venue and forcing the Pride participants to evacuate.
None of the Pride participants are thought to have been physically harmed, though the potential for psychological harm will not be yet known. Images and videos on social media shows thugs burning flags and other items from the Pride event, and stealing and drinking alcohol from the Pride bar.
Kristine Garina (she/her), President of the European Pride Organisers Association, said:
“For several years Georgia’s government have consistently failed to protect Tbilisi Pride and the fundamental freedoms of the people of Georgia, and today they have shown that their assurances count for nothing and cannot be trusted. Allowing far right groups with links to Putin and Moscow to threaten a Pride event to the extent that it has to be cancelled is the very height of incompetence in public office and a complete failure to perform the most important function of government: to protect your people.”
“I cautiously welcome the words of President Salome Zourabichvili who has demanded answers on what went wrong. But this cannot be seen as an isolated failure; two years ago journalist Lekso Lashkarava died after being attacked at Tbilisi Pride, and two years before that there had been riots in the streets. Georgia’s record on human rights is yet again in tatters.”