Ruling party, opposition respond to attacks on activists, media during Tbilisi Pride week

55 people were injured after right-wing groups gathered outside the parliament building to prevent the Tbilisi Pride march, a closing event of the week-long programme for highlighting queer rights, from taking place on July 5. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda/ge, 07 Jul 2021 - 22:53, Tbilisi,Georgia

Members of the ruling Georgian Dream party and opposition have responded to violent attacks by right-wing groups on civil activists and media in front of the Georgian parliament and elsewhere on July 5-6.

Ruling party MP and Vice Parliament Speaker Gia Volski says that nothing can overshadow Georgia’s achievements on its path to European integration, including its Association Agreement with the EU and its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as well as visa-free travel with the EU.

Our future is in Euro-Atlantic integration. Neither the activities of the pride, nor the aggressive groups can change the reality we live in”, Volski said.

He considers that the activities of LGBT activists as well as the violent attacks from the counter protesters are ‘unacceptable’. 

Head of Georgian Dream faction, MP Mamuka Mdinaradze condemns violence against journalists and cameramen and the removal and burning of the EU flags. The ruling party MP is confident that police will thoroughly investigate every violation and the violations will be brought to justice.

Right wing activists who had gathered on Rustaveli Avenue this morning to protest the Tbilisi Pride march scheduled for 6 p.m. later today attacked journalists and cameramen on the spot, injuring dozens of media representatives. Photo: Nino Alavidze/

Mdinaradze also considers that the ‘radical opposition’ is standing behind the organisers of the pride. 

There is a vast majority in Georgia who place the state interests first and give priority to national identity… But violence triggers anti-western sentiments… The entire society should agree that the fight against the church, which is unfortunately frequent in recent years from certain political forces and groups, should also be condemned”, Mdinaradze stated. 

Former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, who currently chairs opposition For Georgia party, says the recent developments in Tbilisi during the pride week is the responsibility of the government. 

This was a political issue - very hard to watch - the state which is being collapsed, , when the state was unable to protect neither its constitution, nor its citizens from physical violence, journalists - from being chased.... What we saw was unbelievable - it was an example of inability”, Gakharia told journalists earlier today.

Gakharia said the ruling party is trying to put its responsibility on everyone else, including the citizens, church, Europe, etc. He also added that it was not a surprise that the Georgian church would be against Tbilisi Pride. However, it is the obligation of the state to ensure that its citizens can peacefully exercise their freedom of expression, without any violence. 

If anyone thinks that being European means the refusal from your own traditions and the Georgian identity, is a mistake and a lie. This is the kind of a narrative that our northern neighbours are offering us”, Gakharia said. 

For Georgia member Kakhaber Kemoklidze has meanwhile noted that when violent groups teared the EU flag to pieces, ‘which has been hoisted over the one of the most strategically important state institutions in the country -  the Parliament of Georgia’, is  much more than an ordinary fact.

Kakhaber Kemoklidze said: