Individuals protesting the Tbilisi Pride march scheduled for 6 p.m. later today are now gathering in central Tbilisi for a counter rally, following the calls of the Patriarchate and right-wing groups.
Both sides say that there might be a clash and urge police to ensure safety.
Right-wing activist Guram Palavandishvili has stated that the police may stand by the Tbilisi Pride participants which may irritate the public and spark tension.
Tbilisi Pride organisers have stated that they are working on safety issues in coordination with the country’s Interior Ministry, and the final plan will be announced earlier today, several hours before the march.
They say that the coronavirus pandemic has further complicated the conditions of the LGBT community ‘who endure everyday oppression and discrimination and need to make their voice reach their family members, the public and the government.’
The Georgian Patriarchate has criticized the ‘drastic interference’ of embassies and MEPs in ‘Georgia’s public and spiritual life’.
Georgia’s Constitution and laws guarantee the right to equality and dignity, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We support the freedom of all Georgians, including the LGBTQI+ community, to exercise these rights peacefully. pic.twitter.com/byGbXh1uCR— U.S. Embassy Tbilisi (@usingeo) July 5, 2021
It is a matter of severe concern (that the embassies and the MEPs support Tbilisi Pride) and it is unacceptable for the church and our citizens, and we believe that it is an abuse of their authority,” said the Patriarchate.
The Patriarchate stated that the goal of Tbilisi Pride ‘is to propagate a perverted lifestyle that damages the consciousness of the young generation and the generations to come.’
They urged people to gather at Kashveti Church of St. George today at 5 p.m. where clerics will deliever a service and ‘show the world that we are defending our dignity and that any attempt to degrade our people is utterly unacceptable to us.’
Tbilisi Pride events began on July 1 amid public protests.
More than 20 individuals from right-wing groups have been detained by police during counter rallies.