TBILISI, DFWatch–Police have detained four persons suspected of resisting police and petty hooliganism on May 17, when Orthodox Christians held a counter-rally against an attempt at marking the International Day Against Homophobia.
There is one minor among the detainees. Each of them may face 90 days of administrative detention or fine. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the investigation is not finished.
Meanwhile more than 10 000 signatures are gathered for an appeal to President Mikheil Saakashvili, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili.
The signatories claim that on May 17 many articles of the Criminal Code were were violated, including violence, violation of equality, freedom of speech, interruption of journalist activity, violation of the right of assembly and demonstration, attack on police and others.
The appeal draws particular attention to third point of article 53, which deals with crimes because of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The signatories request to adequately and timely evaluate the facts about what happened on May 17.
“We think we face serious threat of religious fundamentalism and theocracy,” the appeal reads, adding that the only civilized way to avoid this is to punish every offender and those encouraging violence.
The organization Identoba, which works to protect the rights of LGBT people, says there have also been violent incidents after May 17, and that people have been beaten or offended in the streets for their appearance.
The organization claims that LGBT people are in danger while walking in the streets.
A person was walking in a street in the evening of May 17, when some guys met him, he tried to pretend he was a foreigner, but wasn’t able to avoid them. He was beaten. The next day he was once again beaten at Bukia Square and while verbal insulting him the attackers set his hair on fire. The next day this person was once again beaten by another group of youth at Kus Tba (Turtle Lake) in Tbilisi.
Two girls were followed in front of Kashueti Church in Tbilisi by a group of people who caught up with them and severely beat them, while another person was able to get into a supermarket to escape from the attackers and was only able to leave the shop when the ombudsman and diplomats came to the place.
Two women were followed by a few men at night.
“Look she doesn’t have a breast, perhaps he’s a faggot,” one of the attackers told another. Both of the women were beaten, and one of them has visible bite marks on her arm.
Deputy Chief Prosecutor Shota Rekhviashvili said on Monday said that all suspects of violence of May 17 will be punished.
He said there is a large amount of video footage and it will be needed to identify people.
“You should be sure that in near future you will see people held responsible for their actions,” he said.
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