TBILISI, DFWatch–The human rights committee in parliament has passed a statement about the events of May 17, when radical priests and their supporters disrupted a peaceful demonstration against homophobia in Tbilisi.
Before the final adoption on Tuesday, there have been tough discussion about the draft, involving also groups in Tbilisi’s NGO circles.
The final version of the statement says that violence is unacceptable in any case for any reason or purpose, but in spite of request from NGOs, it still contains a controversial passage saying that the Georgian Orthodox Church never called for violence before May 17, ‘even though the Church views people with such inclinations as sinners’, and that the Patriarch the following days stated that the Church distances itself from the violence.
In the last minute, LGBT activists and human right organizations still wanted to make changes, but enough of a majority materialized for the statement to be passed. Those who voted for the statement claim it is balanced and that it condemns violence.
Almost thirty people were injured in the tumultuous May 17 events, including journalists and policemen. Four people have been charged — two of them clerics. No-one has been punished yet, but the investigation continues.