What happened at the Armenian Church in Tbilisi?
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, July 24There was a clash at the Armenian Church in Tbilisi on July19. It could be taken as an ordinary clash or hooliganism. However, Armenian Church representatives in Georgia state that it was a deliberate attack on the Armenian Church, which according to them was based on religious and ethnic grounds.
Georgian analysts believe that there are other forces at work aiming to aggravate Georgian-Armenian relations. Therefore, analysts demand an overwhelming investigation in order to reveal the individuals who wish to create an ethnic-religious confrontation in Georgia.
There are two main versions of this story. According to the first version, a driver was trying to turn her car around and got upset because of another car blocking the street. An argument then ensued resulting in a clash. Some supporters of the woman appeared. Spirituals tried to calm the situation, but unfortunately, one of them was assaulted during the skirmish.
However, Armenian Church representatives said it was a deliberate attack by Orthodox Christian Georgians on Armenians motivated by ethnic and religious reasons.
Nikoloz Mzhavanadze, Chairman of the Human Rights’ Protection Union, claims that it was deliberate propaganda coming from a certain group in the country, who wants to strain situation between the two neighboring countries.
Representatives of various NGOs made a statement on July 22 and concluded that the incident included verbally abusive language in terms of ethnicity. They claim that the incident transformed into wider aggression that was mainly targeted towards some representatives of the Armenian Church rather than the church itself or an ethnic group. It was also stated that there was a certain number of ethnic Armenians in both groups.
NGOs ask the government to conduct an urgent investigation of the case and take adequate measures to avoid the risk of a similar confrontation.
“The government should pay the utmost attention to anti-Armenian attitudes in the country to prevent future conflict,” NGOs state.
The Georgian Patriarchate immediately responded to the incident, stating that the incident had no ethnic or religious overtones to it, at the same time condemning the behavior of those involved in the incident.
According to some analysts, such an incident might serve Russian interests in Georgia. Such developments would create unrest in Georgia and damage Georgia’s path to NATO and the EU. As such, analysts appeal to the Georgian government to pay more attention to this sensitive issue to avoid any future confrontations.