Organizers of a Pride march in the capital of Georgia have cancelled the event on July 5 after far-right protesters stormed their office and attacked journalists.
“We cannot risk human lives and take to the streets, which are full of violent attackers,” T’bilisi Pride, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) organization, announced in a statement.
Photos and videos circulating in social media showed anti-LGBTQ protesters scaling a three-story building to break into the office of T’bilisi Pride.
T’bilisi Pride blamed the government for its “inaction.”
“The authorities not only did not ensure the security of the queer community and our supporters, but also prevented us from exercising our right to assembly through active actions,” T’bilisi Pride stated.
T’bilisi Pride also criticized Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili for his “shameful” statement that appeared to blame the LGBTQ organization for the violence.
Garibashvili told a cabinet meeting that “the holding of the so-called Pride march is not reasonable as it creates the threat of civil confrontation.”
Hundreds of other far-right protesters attacked journalists at several locations, including outside the parliament and the United Nations representative office to Georgia, according to footage from local Mtavari Channel.
According to T’bilisi Pride, the violent attacks injured 50 journalists while others had their cameras and equipment broken.
A joint statement from the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and other diplomatic missions issued a statement, condemning the attacks.
“Participation in peaceful gatherings is a human right guaranteed by Georgia’s Constitution. Violence is simply unacceptable and cannot be excused,” the statement said.
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