The first day of Pride Week in Tbilisi was held yesterday, in a night club Khidi, near the Vakhushti bridge. LGBTQ+ activists, politicians, and the representatives of the international corps attended the meeting, which was followed by the screening of a documentary.
The first day of Pride Week in Tbilisi
By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Friday, July 2
The first day of Pride Week was held in parallel with far-right, ultra-conservative hate groups gathering outside the screening. The homophobic protesters used force against police as well as attendees of the event.
The head of the patrol police department, Vazha Siradze was also present at the location. As he noted, everyone has the right of freedom of speech and expression. He once again called on both sides to adhere to the police's rightful demands.
Prior to the beginning of the meeting, Georgian activists called on the authorities to protect the rights of people. The director of the Media Development Fund, Tamar Kintsurashvili, talked about the importance of Pride week. She said that no society can develop if every single citizen does not have the same rights.
The Ombudsperson of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria, also called on the authorities to protect the participants of the Pride Week events. She talked about it yesterday. She said that for years, LGBTQ+ activists were not able to use the right of freedom of speech and expression. She said that every single act of peaceful protest is guaranteed by the Georgian constitution and the government is required to protect the rights of the people.
The Public Defender calls on the competent authorities and officials, based on the experience of previous years, to take measures that actually protect the safety, dignity of freedom of expression.
Former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, the founder of the For Georgia party, says the right to freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution and that the state owes its protection to its citizens.
“Every citizen of Georgia, and first the government, must abide by the Constitution. When I was with my team in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, we did everything possible to protect the health, safety, and peace of our citizens in this country in any conditions,” said the former Prime Minister.
The Pride Week will be held in Tbilisi from July 1 to July 5 - the March of Dignity is scheduled for July 5 on Rustaveli avenue. Guram and Alexandre Palavandishvili plan to set up a tent near the Rustaveli metro station from July 4. Representatives of other ultra-conservative groups have also expressed their plans to get in the way of Pride Week, specifically the March of Dignity.