Tbilisi Pride march cancelled
Tbilisi Pride march cancelled

The March of Dignity, the final event of Tbilisi Pride Week, has cancelled, Tbilisi Pride announced as ” the authorities did not ensure the security of the community.”

“We can not go to the streets full of violent people backed by the authorities and patriarchate and put people’s lives at risk!” Tbilisi Pride underscored, adding that “war was declared against civil society and democratic values.”

“The actions of the government have clearly shown that they don’t want to perform its direct duty. The inaction of the executive power has put the health and lives of Georgian citizens in real danger,” the statement reads.

Tbilisi Pride dubbed the Georgian Prime Minister’s recent statement that the march is inappropriate, as “shameful, violent, anti-state and anti-Western.”

They call on the international community, opposition parties, non-governmental organizations, supporters and citizens of Georgia to “dissociate themselves from radical hate groups and the state’s inaction policy.”

Members of the ultranationalist groups rallied on Rustaveli avenue hours before the Tbilisi Pride march. They aggressively thwarted reporters to do their work. Georgian Public Broadcaster’s First Channel cameraman Ilia Tvaliashvili was injured during the protest.

The anti-Pride rally participants gathered at Kashveti Church to attend prayer service announced by the Patriarchate “after the parishioners’ plea.” The Georgian Patriarchate echoed the Tbilisi Pride Week on June 29 and has urged the population to gather at Kashveti Church and show the world that any attempt to degenerate Georgian people is utterly unacceptable.

The tension mounted as anti-Pride protesters stormed the Pride office on Akhvlediani Street in downtown Tbilisi. Rioters hiked up the second-floor balcony of the building as the police blocked the main door. They removed the LGBTQ Pride colours, burnt them and hang the Georgian national flag.

Georgian Interior Ministry (MIA) urged Tbilisi Pride Week organizers to cancel the March of Dignity since various protesting groups were holding counter-rallies on Rustaveli avenue. MIA reported on increased security risks.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili also echoed the march, saying that “it is inappropriate as it poses a threat of civil strife.”

Tbilisi Pride Week kicked off on July 1.