police and sodoma banner May 17

Counter-activist with poster saying “These are the sins of Sodom and Gomorra”. (DFWatch photo.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–A new opinion poll shows that 79 percent of Georgians do not support the anti-homophobia demonstration on May 17, 2013, which was disrupted by radical Christian clerics and their followers, resulting in almost 30 people being injured.

52 percent think the clerics and activists did right in organizing a counter rally, while 33 percent think it was wrong.

These are some of the results in a new survey of public attitudes carried out by National Democratic Institute (NDI) and published on Friday.

The survey includes questions about the latest important events that have taken place in the country, including the dispersal of an anti-homophobia demonstration and the detention of former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili.

The questionnaire goes into some detail about the May 17 rally. People were asked whether they knew that the participants in the counter rally broke through the police cordon. 71 percent said they knew about it, and 30 percent think it was correct of them to do it, while 46 percent think this was wrong. 19 percent refused to answer.

In Tbilisi, the results to this particular question was different: 58 percent of the questioned did not think it was right to break through the police cordon.

Later on, the interviewers asked about the video footage which showed scenes of attacks as result of which private property was damaged, participants and policemen were injured. 70 percent are familiar with those incidents, 25 percent of them think it was right, while 49 percent do not think those actions were right. In Tbilisi, 58 percent do not think it was justified.

The Interior Ministry is investigating the incidents of May 17. 29 percent think this is unjustified, while 51 percent think all, including the clerics, must be held responsible for actions on May 17; 66 percent think so in Tbilisi.

52 percent of the questioned think it is not important to protect the rights of sexual minorities. 54 percent think it is important to protect the rights of religious minorities; 57 percent think the rights of ethnic minorities must be protected. Only 16 percent think rights of sexual minorities must be protected.

Vano Merabishivli, Secretary General of the United National Movement, was detained and is facing charges for several different cases. 8 percent of the questioned completely agrees that he was detained on political grounds, 10 percent just agrees that it had political grounds. 22 percent completely agrees that detaining Merabishvili is a result of unbiased investigation, 29 percent agrees with this.

Survey was conducted during June 12-26 and 2 338 people were questioned. Margin of error is + – 2.9 percent. Survey was conducted by CRRC and financed by SIDA, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.