Hundreds of gay rights opponents packed the site of a gay festival in Georgia’s nation’s capital, vandalizing the stage, setting fires and looting the event’s bar.
Tbilisi, Georgia — Hundreds of opponents of gay rights on Saturday packed the site of a gay festival in Georgia’s nation’s capital, vandalizing the stage, setting fires and looting the event’s bar.
Georgian Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Darakhvilidze said the participants of the Tbilisi Pride Festival were safely evacuated from the scene. Festival organizers called on people not to come to Lake Park where the event was scheduled to take place.
Georgian media estimated that about 5,000 people marched towards the site. Many of them waved Georgian flags and carried religious icons.
Hostility to sexual minorities is strong in Georgia, which is majority Orthodox Christian, and some past LGBT events have faced violent unrest.
Darakhvelidze said that the police tried to block the protesters but could not hold them all back.
But event organizers criticized the police as ineffective, saying in a statement: “The police did not block access to the festival site in order to prevent an aggressive group. The police did not use relative force against the attackers.”
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