Pride begins – who defends and who opposes the march of dignity


Homophobic and radical groups are not only rallying against LGBTQ activists, Western values, the diplomatic corps and the Georgian constitution, and are allocating space on Rustaveli Avenue, effectively preventing a march of honor.

What are violent, homophobic groups going to do

Tbilisi Pride will be held from July 1 to July 5 – the march of honor is planned at 5 Rustaveli Avenue. Guram and Alexander Palavandishvili will set up a tent near the Rustaveli metro station from July 4. The clergy also announce mobilization and call on the parishioners to come out.

“On July 5, it will not be decided whether 10 sick people will cross Rustaveli Avenue or not. It ends on July 5, whose rules apply in this country. Traitorous political parties, NGOs, media outlets and, most importantly, their foreign patrons or ours. They call us abusers and yes, I am an abuser. I can and am going to defend my own values ​​by force. If my child has to grow up in the conditions of hell created by this, I am ready to act against it by force ” The author of the appeal is Zurab Makharadze, the host of the anti-liberal online media “Alt Info” and one of the founders of the organization “Alternative for Georgia”.

This is not the only violent call that has appeared on social media in recent days – The Ministry of Internal Affairs does not answer the question of Radio Liberty, what preventive measures the agency is taking to prevent violence during the march of dignity and for the safety of activists. Violent groups even hope that if they are able to bring a large number of people against Pride, both the Ministry of Interior and the state in general will be held accountable and will not use force against them. Homophobic associations consider the participation of clergy in their contract as a guarantee of special protection. Part of the clergy openly calls on the parishioners to come out on July 5, while part of them expresses their readiness to stand by the violent groups.

“As far as I know, clerics are coming from all over to somehow stand up to the LGBT Pride,” he said. Said the head of the Teleti Annunciation Church, Archbishop Basil Iashagashvili at a press conference on June 29.

“Maybe someone will come and take their poster, maybe someone will not take it and stand at the rally. “If a person holds a poster of debauchery, someone will come and take it away without beating or hitting it, I think it is not violence.” This is how a clergyman imagines resisting the march of dignity.

The head of the Teleti Cathedral is not the only cleric to oppose Pride. On June 29, the Patriarchate issued a statement stating that “Such activities do not protect the interests of LGBTQ +, but help to receive certain dividends for a small number of people, and to artificially incite aggression against this group among the people.”

What do politicians think about the march of dignity

The government openly says that “Does not consider it expedient” To hold a march of honor “Given the full context.“Part of the opposition clearly avoids supporting LGBTQ people: Aleko Elisashvili believes that the pride serves nothing but a” wave of disgust “, while Mamuka Khazaradze sees a security threat in the realization of the right to expression.

Part of the politicians from the opposition think that open support from high-ranking officials will be important for the security of the march of dignity. Roman Gotsiridze asked the President to take part in the Pride, while Khatuna Samnidze asked the Minister of Internal Affairs to come to the Parliament to discuss the issues of Pride security.

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While the government and part of the opposition make cautious and measured statements and use these statements to aggravate the situation with LGBTQ activists, nationalist and homophobic groups and members of the violent group also staged a protest against foreign diplomats.

Guram Palavandishvili, Dimitri Lortkipanidze and other homophobic, pro-Russian actors today demanded at the Embassy of the European Union and the United States of America that the ambassadors be declared “persona non grata”. The US ambassador expressed hope that the Pride would end peacefully on June 29, and 30 MEPs sent a letter to Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri a few days ago, reminding him of his commitment to human rights.

On June 30, the United Nations and diplomatic missions issued a joint statement calling on the Georgian authorities to “protect the right to peaceful assembly for all people in Georgia, without exception, and to ensure that these measures are conducted in a safe environment.”

“Public gatherings are the foundation of a functioning democracy. We reiterate our previous call to the Georgian government, political, civil and religious leaders to combat all forms of discrimination and prejudice and to take all possible measures to prevent violence and to build public respect based on respect and compassion.” It is said in their statement.

On June 29, the Patriarchate also addressed embassies and foreign partners, asking them to refrain from supporting and encouraging Tbilisi Pride, and called on the Georgian authorities to adequately assess the current situation. The church asks the government “Avoid destabilizing the country and inevitably disturbing public life.”

The clergy are actively involved in the movement against the march of dignity. A number of high priests and priests believe that their parishioners should be on Rustaveli Avenue and prevent the peaceful march.

Before the Tbilisi Pride, pro-Russian groups also spread misinformation that the protection of minority rights in Georgia would be an impediment to the return of the occupied territories to the country. Levan Vasadze, the leader of Ertoba, Raoba, Imedi, claims that the pride will violate the dignity of the Georgian nation and will be a violation of centuries-old traditions, which will damage Georgia’s reputation in the region. He calls on people of all nationalities and religions, “Do not break the moral code of Georgia in the spine to the enemies of the country’s traditions”. Levan Vasadze advises the supporters “Do not touch the perverts” But to withdraw from the scene of the confrontation, he calls on the law enforcers not to act in accordance with the law and “Do not sue for celebrating immorality in Georgia.”

The participants of the march of honor even say that stony people need to speak out loud about their problems. It is important for them that family members, friends, colleagues, fellow citizens and the state make their voices heard and that is why they come out in solidarity.

Pride participants demand from the state:

  • Ensure the production of human-centered policies;
  • ასრულ Fulfill a positive commitment to creating an equal environment, overcoming homophobia, stigma and discrimination;
  • Ensure a proper investigation of hate crimes and uphold the principle of justice;
  • Protect the security and freedom of expression of every citizen, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.