Georgian LGBT Activists Call Off Pride March After Violent Attacks.

LGBT campaigners in Georgia have canceled a planned Pride march after opponents attacked activists and journalists and the government and church spoke out against the event.

Hundreds of violent counterprotesters took to the streets of Tbilisi against the Pride march scheduled for the evening.

At least 15 journalists were attacked by mobs at different locations, including two RFE/RL reporters, while covering the Tbilisi Pride events.

Videos showed anti-LGBT groups waving Georgian flags scaling the Tbilisi Pride headquarters, tearing town pride flags, and ransacking the office.

In a statement announcing the march had been called off, Tbilisi Pride accused the government and church of emboldening a "huge wave of hate" against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and failing to protect citizens' rights.

Earlier on July 5, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said it was inappropriate to hold a Pride march, arguing that it would create confrontation and was "unacceptable for a large segment of the Georgian society."

He also claimed that the "radical opposition" led by exiled former President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement was behind the march and sought to create "unrest."

The Georgian Orthodox Church had also called on supporters to gather against the Pride march. Videos of the mobs showed some priests joining the protests.

Tbilisi Pride organizers said that although they could not go out "in a street full of violence" supported by the government and church, they would continue to advocate for LGBT rights.

"We would like to tell the supporters clearly that the fight for dignity will continue, this is an indispensable process that despite the hate groups, the Patriarchate and the government's resistance, will not stop," they said.

WATCH: Twenty people were detained on July 1 as Georgian ultranationalists attempted to disrupt a film screening at the opening of the four-day Tbilisi Pride LGBT rights festival.

Condemning the violence, the U.S. and EU diplomatic missions in Georgia, as well as the embassies of 16 other countries, issued a joint statement calling on the Georgian government to protect people's constitutional right to gather peacefully.

"We condemn today's violent attacks on the civic activists, community members, and journalists, as well as the failure of the government leaders and religious officials to condemn this violence," the joint statement said.

Rights groups also condemned the violence and accused the government of supporting hate groups.

"Violent far-right crowds supported by Church & emboldened by incredibly irresponsible statement of PM @GharibashviliGe gathered in Tbilisi center to prevent Pride March, attacking journalists & breaking into Pride office," wrote Giorgi Gogia, the associate director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Hungarian Nurses Demand Better Pay To Stop Exodus

Hungarian Nurses Demand Better Pay To Stop Exodus

Over 1,000 nurses demonstrated in central Budapest on July 31 to demand better pay, after a survey showed many of them are considering leaving Hungary for higher salaries elsewhere. Hundreds of them arrived from outside the capital and travelled h...

Radio Free Europe

Live: House Freedom Caucus speaks to press

Live: House Freedom Caucus speaks to press

House Freedom Caucus holds press conference on the expulsion of members from the House Republican Conference. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompass...

Senate votes to move infrastructure deal forward in rare bipartisan agreement.

Senate votes to move infrastructure deal forward in rare bipartisan agreement.

A bipartisan group of senators pushed an infrastructure package forward, signaling hope it could soon become law. In a vote of 67-32, the lawmakers advanced the roughly $1 trillion proposal that contains $550 billion of new spending and aims to up...

Tokyo 2020 Olympics live: View of stadium as athletic competitions begins.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics live: View of stadium as athletic competitions begins.

TOKYO, JAPAN - View of Tokyo Olympic Stadium as athletic competitions begin at the 2020 Olympic Games. The Sun newspaper brings you the latest breaking news videos and explainers from the UK and around the world Become a Sun Subscriber and hit the...

India and US pledge to deepen ties - DW News

India and US pledge to deepen ties - DW News

The US and India's top diplomats have pledged to deepen ties between their countries and strengthen a regional front against Beijing's assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam...

BREAKING: Chancellor says 'stick with' self-isolation rules until 16 August.

BREAKING: Chancellor says 'stick with' self-isolation rules until 16 August.

Rishi Sunak says the government is will not bring forward the date to end the pingdemic self-isolation rules from 16 August. He told Sky News: "I completely appreciate people's frustration with all of this, but I think it's the right approach as w...

Morning News NOW Full Broadcast - July 29

Morning News NOW Full Broadcast - July 29

Some of America’s largest companies announce new vaccination rules for employees, the massive infrastructure bill passes a key test in the Senate, and Team USA dominates in swimming at the Olympics. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video:...