05 July 2021, 18:21
Diplomatic missions condemn violence at Tbilisi LGBT march
Tbilisi, July 5, Interfax - Diplomatic missions accredited in Tbilisi have released a joint statement condemning violence after several thousands of radically-minded citizens disrupted an LGBT "March of Dignity" and behaved aggressively towards reporters in the Georgian capital on Monday.
"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. Participation in peaceful gatherings is a human right guaranteed by Georgia's Constitution. Violence is simply unacceptable and cannot be excused," the statement said.
"Those who incite or threaten violence or commit violent acts are interfering with the efforts of Georgia's law enforcement professionals to uphold a safe and secure environment. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
"We call on all Georgia's leaders and law enforcement to act swiftly to protect those exercising their Constitutional rights to freedom of expression and assembly, to protect journalists exercising freedom of the press, and to publicly condemn violence."
Earlier, the Tbilisi Pride organization dropped plans to conduct the March on Monday because the government's "inaction has put at risk the lives and health of numerous people."
This morning, participants in the counter-protest attacked journalists, accusing them of LGBT propaganda. Two journalists were hospitalized; police launched a criminal inquiry into the attack.
The Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church has denounced the attack, describing the incident as "very sad, unacceptable, and absolutely objectionable."
Tbilisi Pride is an organization of LGBT representatives and nongovernmental organizations. Since July 1 it has been conducting an LGBT rights campaign week.
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