On July 5, as part of Pride Week in Tbilisi, a “March of Honor” was planned on Rustaveli Avenue. Because of the planned event, on June 5 and 6, homophobic groups took to the streets, harassed journalists, and raided offices. Due to the aggression of violent groups, the March of Honor was not held.
GEORGIA TODAY has compiled just some of the many reactions to the Tbilisi Pride Week events from Georgia’s international partners and supporters.
“We strongly condemn the July 5 violent attacks against civil activists, community members and journalists in Tbilisi, which regrettably forced the cancellation of the LGBTQI+ Pride March,” reads the statement released by MEPs Marina Kaljurand, Sven Mikser and Viola von Cramon Taubadel.
“Unfortunately, the Georgian authorities and religious representatives failed to speak loud and clear against homophobic rhetoric in the run-up to the Pride March. We deplore the Georgian government’s lack of readiness to guarantee the safety of this gathering devoted to tolerance.
“Like any other citizens, LGBTQI+ persons should be able to enjoy their constitutional rights such as participation in peaceful gatherings.
“The Georgian authorities have been vocal about their intention to apply formally for EU membership by 2024. In this respect, we wish to remind them that the prerequisites for accession to the EU, also known as the Copenhagen criteria, provide, among others, that a candidate country has stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.
“We expect the Georgian authorities to see that the perpetrators of the aforementioned attacks are apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” reads the statement.
“LGBTQI+ rights are NOT a marginal issue,” Charles Michel, President of the European Council, noted Wednesday, adding that in the European Union, they don’t discriminate, they integrate.
Michel published a video of his speech at the plenary session of the European Parliament on Twitter.
“LGBTQI+ rights are NOT a marginal issue. They are concrete examples of how society relates to diversity, and how it relates to human dignity. It touches on our most intimate thoughts and beliefs: our fundamental liberties. In the European Union, we don’t discriminate. We integrate,” Michel stated.
“Democracy in Georgia is at stake, and all actors, including government, must act with full responsibility,” Czech Ambassador to Georgia Petr Mikyska said following the rallies.
“Shocked by scenes of violence, attacks on journalists and NGOs offices in Tbilisi. Perpetrators must be brought to justice immediately, constitutional rights and freedoms restored. Democracy in Georgia is at stake and all actors, including the government, must act with full responsibility,” the Ambassador tweeted.
US Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price also responded to the Pride-related events in Tbilisi, and condemned the violent attacks.
“We condemn the July 5 violent attacks in Georgia on civic activists, community members, and journalists. Georgia’s leaders and law enforcement are obligated to protect the constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly and prosecute those participating in violence,” he tweeted.
As a result of the assaults by the opponents of Tbilisi Pride, 47 media representatives were injured.
“Watching events across Tbilisi. Violence, threats towards the LGBTI+ and attacks on journalists, damage Georgia’s reputation as tolerant, hospitable country,” reads the statement released by the British Embassy in Georgia.
“We call on the authorities to prevent further violence and protect the individual rights and liberties of all Georgian citizens as per Georgia’s Constitution,” the Embassy said.