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Anti-LGBTQ Mob Attack Forces Cancellation of Tbilisi Pride Festival



A far-right mob numbering in the hundreds stormed a Pride festival in the city of Tbilisi, clashing with police and forcing organizers to cancel the event. The incident comes two years after a Pride march in the Georgian capital was canceled following an attack on organizer headquarters.

As many of 5,000 LGBTQ opponents protested Saturday’s event, and many waved Georgian flags, the Associated Press reported. They vandalized the stage, burned rainbow flags and looted the area.

Attendees were evacuated and no one was injured, said Mariam Kvaratskhelia, an LGBTQ activist who helped put together the event. In a statement, organizers criticized law enforcement for failing to “use proportional force and measures against the attackers,” adding that police “compelled” attendees to leave the area on prearranged buses instead of dispersing the mob.

Animosity toward sexual minorities remains widespread in the southeastern European nation, which has a strong Orthodox Christian influence. Critics have long accused the ruling Georgian Dream party — which opponents and some Western diplomats have said is leading the country away from the West — of tacitly supporting homophobic and nationalist groups.

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Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Darakhvelidze told reporters that law enforcement had difficulty policing an open space, and some protesters managed to circumvent cordons to enter the festival area


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