Holding banners saying “Stop Homosexual Propaganda In Georgia” and “Not in our city!” demonstrators including priests and other Georgians broke through police barricades to attack and stop a rally intended to mark the International Day Against Homophobia or IDAHO.
The demonstrators flooded into a square in central Tbilisi where they stopped 50 Georgians from rallying in support of LGBT rights. Police were able to escort the activists onto busses and get them away from the violence. Several individuals, including some journalists, sustained minor injuries.
Zhuzhuna Tavadze, one of the anti-gay protesters, stated “We won’t allow these sick people to hold gay parades in our country. It’s against our traditions and our morals.” It should be noted that Tavadze, a woman, would have traditionally been restricted regarding her rights.
The rowdy crowds took to the streets and shouted at people they thought might be gay.
Nino Bolkvadze expressed disappointment regarding the events stating “These people (gay rights demonstrators)should have the right to express their views and to hold demonstrations.”
The head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, had urged authorities not to allow the gay rights rally claiming that it was an insult to Georgian traditions, “a violation of the majority’s right” and claimed that homosexuality is an “anomaly and a disease.”
A recent survey conducted by the European Union has shown that homophobia and homophobic attacks get more common as one moves further East. Russia and other nations have used homophobia as a way to gain power by making gays into scapegoats.