Turmoil around the first Tbilisi Pride - a week-long event dedicated to the rights of LGBT individuals - continues as organisers decided yesterday to hold the events despite threats coming from nationalist groups.
One of the organisers of the event Nino Bolkvadze refrained from naming the date of the march which will be the final stage of the event at the end of the week and warned possible participants regarding existing threats.
What I can say now is that all the security measures which might have been provided by the pride organisers are in place. Many people, including the police and high ranking officials are involved to ensure the peaceful conduct of the events. Of course, there are risks and the government is responsible for avoiding them,” Bolkvadze stated earlier today.
She said that the LGBT march will not be held on the central streets of Tbilisi.
LGBT supporters urge everone to join them. Photo: Tbilisi Pride.
Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria reported on June 17 that “taking security threats into account” the Georgian Interior Ministry said no to pride organisers to hold the events.
However, the organisers did not accept the refusal and decided to go ahead anyway.
Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria says that everyone in the country has the right of expression.
However, if one aims to insult others during an event it is a crime. Expression must be peaceful, otherwise it is something else,” Lomjaria said.
She believes that the Interior Ministry must ensure peace during Tbilisi Pride.
As for me, I will stand there, where the right of even a single person is violated,” she said.
A leader of anti-LGBT movement, businessman Levan Vasadze says that the government promised them that the pridearch would not be held.
We will come out anytime and never allow the events if we see that the government fails to fulfil the promise,” Vasadze said.
Levan Vasadze says that LGBT march will never be allowed in Georgia. Photo: 1TV.
After an appeal to the Georgian government on June 14 not to allow the pride parade to take place, the Georgian Patriarchate released another statement earlier today, which says that the church is against any aggression.
The statement urged clerics and parish to refrain from aggression and the activities which are not agreed with the Patriarchate.
Amnesty International, a London-based international non-governmental organisation on human rights, has urged the Georgian authorities to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of Tbilisi Pride participants “amidst unprecedented threats” of violence including from homophobic groups.
The Georgian Bureau of the Voice of America has cited the US Department of State by saying that suppression of people for their sexual orientation is unacceptable.
Public Defender Nino Lomjaria has received threats for her statements supporting Tbilisi Pride. Photo: Public Defender's press office.
Interior Ministry says that they had warned Tbilisi Pride organisers on possible threats. Photo: Interior Ministy press office.