TBILISI, DFWatch–Organizers have called off a gay rights rally in Tbilisi out of security concerns. The rally should have been held in front of the government building in Tbilisi to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).
“Considering all existing threats, we, LGBT activists, have made the toughest joint decision,” reads a statement posted on Facebook Wednesday evening by by Equality Movement.
“There has been announced an unprecedented mobilization against us on May 17 by hostile groups, including the Patriarchate of Georgia and fascist groups, which, there is reason to suspect, are cooperating with the political enemy of our country – Russian intelligence. [They are preparing] to arrange riots and civil confrontation in the city,” the statement reads.
“We urge Georgian authorities to realize their political responsibility for the rise of far-right, radical violent groups, and study their political goals and sources of financing.”
The rally was planned held in front of the government building just a few hundred meters away of the parliament, where the Patriarchate, the ruling body of Georgian church, and conservative groups, including far-right Georgian March, are planning to hold events dedicated to the Day of Family Values, a unique Georgian observance announced by the Patriarchate in 2013 after in the wake of the violent attack by religious groups on LGBTQ activists.
Last year, when IDAHOT was observed in Tbilisi, LGBT activists met under tight security at the same location, and for the same reason. But, judging by the recent aggressive posturing by far-right activists during the ‘Bassiani rally’ last week, the security risks are much higher this year.