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A gay pride festival was forced to cancel on Saturday in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, after up to 2,000 anti-LGBT demonstrators stormed the event.

The right-wing demonstrators, who included clergy from Orthodox Christian churches, fought with law enforcement, stormed the stage, and set fire to rainbow flags.

The president of Georgia and the festival’s organizers accused the police of failing to protect attendees and placed the blame on anti-LGBT hate speech that was spoken before the event.

In Georgia, homophobia is still pervasive.

The ruling Georgian Dream party, according to President Salome Zurabishvili, has not condemned its members who have openly encouraged violence against LGBT activists.


Nonetheless, Alexander Darakhvelidze, the interior minister, contended that it had been challenging to police the vast area.

“This was an open area, participants of the protest managed to bypass the security and find other ways to enter the event area,” he stated.

“However we managed to evacuate the participants of the Pride festival and organisers from the area, no one was harmed,” he stated.


The Reuters news agency said that attendees of the event were bussed to safety.

The vast open space of the event, according to the authorities, made it difficult to contain the demonstrators. In 2021, far-right demonstrators also violently interrupted a Pride festival in Tbilisi, attacking journalists and LGBT activists.

A “mass mobilisation” of far-right groups had taken place ahead of this year’s Pride, according to Mariam Kvaratskhelia, the organizer for 2023 Pride. She claimed that the groups had been “openly inciting violence”.


“We’ve been telling the ministry of interior and the police to start investigation immediately but they did not do it,” she stated to Reuters.


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