TBILISI, DFWatch–Four years after a mob of thousands of people violently attacked them, Georgia’s LGBT community needed strict security to observe The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on Wednesday.
Several dozen LGBT people and rights activists gathered secretly in the morning of May 17 at an undisclosed location and were ferried by vans to in front of the government building, where they held a one-hour-long rally under tight police supervision.
After the rally, they were ferried back by the same vans to the secret location.
The security measures were necessitated by the threat from conservative activists, who have constantly attacked LGBT gatherings. The largest violent incident occurred in 2013, when thousands of activists, mostly Orthodox Christian men, attacked a handful of LGBT activists on Freedom Square.
In the days and weeks afterward, the violence continued with many attacks and incidents in the streets of Tbilisi, arising from the culture war that culminated in the May 17 mass violence.
Amid criticism against Georgian authorities for not doing enough to address the problem, the European Union set as condition for its visa liberalization process that Georgia protect the rights of LGBT people in a new anti-discrimination law, passed by parliament i 2014.
But the LGBT community and rights activists claim that the anti-discrimination law has barely been implemented in practice.
As reported by DFWatch, there have been numerous attacks against transgender people in recent years.
In parallel, the Orthodox Church launched an initiative of countering the LGBT cause by declaring May 17 a day of family values. Thousands assembled on Freedom Square Wednesday to observe the day.