Violence Breaks Out At Gay March In Tbilisi, Georgia


Protesters and gay activists alike were arrested after a brawl broke out during a Day Against Homophobia march in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. LGBT activists were marching from a concert hall to parliament in the nation's capital, Tbilisi, when a number of priests reportedly tried to stop them.

From the BBC:

Some [Orthodox Christian] priests approached nearby police officers asking them "to stop this indecency" but an officer responded that the police could not "ban them from [marching]", according to the Civil Georgia website.

"Then we have to do that," the priest reportedly replied.

When fighting began, the police stepped in and made arrests, both of protesters and marchers.

"This shows that Tbilisi has a long way to go to become a modern European city," Natia Gvianishvili of the gay rights group Identoba told AFP afterwards.
"We expected a negative reaction but did not expect to be attacked."

The U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi released a statement condemning the violence. "We believe that a modern democratic society that supports full implementation of universal human rights, needs to have a space in that society for people of every sexual orientation," said diplomatic officials. "Members of those communities should be able to express themselves in public in a peaceful way without suffering fear of retribution."

Georgian human rights official Giorgi Tugishi also came out against homophobia and its violent expressions, insisting that more political leaders need to admonish such behavior. "Only in this case it will become possible for our state and society to develop in a democratic and liberal direction," he said.


  1. paul says

    When are religions going to start focusing on helping the sick the poor and the needy and stop trying to attack gay people ? Really getting very tired of this. It really has become a battle between Gays and the religious and we definitely didn’t start this.

  2. ratbastard says

    Communism tried to obliterate religion [in this case Orthodox Christianity] in the USSR for over 70 years. They tried to obliterate tribalism and nationalism [except Russian, of course], for over 70 years. Ditto other communist states like Yugoslavia. Did they succeed? No. It was always there, just below the surface. They tried FORCING people to be ‘nice’ and ‘progressive’. All this did was push many things underground, it didn’t actually change very many people’s minds and attitudes. A lesson to be learned.

  3. Hope springs eternal says

    Having been raised in the Orthodox “faith”, and seen the homophobia and anti-semitism of God’s “gentle” people up close, I know how militant the hierarchy of the church is. They have a death grip in Russia and the off-shoot republics, and in the Balkans, including Greece. There is no freedom of speech or religion as we know it in the U.S. Gays in these countries look to their brothers and sisters in Europe, and the U.S., and hope to copy our newfound success in breaking down barriers.

  4. Steve says

    East Germany was very successful in wiping out religion. According to a recent study, NO ONE under 30 replied yes to the question “I am certain that god exists” (that is 0%). In the US it was over 50%. Over 50% of East Germans don’t believe in gods (in the US, it’s less than 10%). And that includes many people who have since had 20 years of non-communist education. So unlike in Russia, they weren’t re-indoctrinated.

  5. Polyboy says

    “Nice and Progressive?”

    Really Ratbastard? You’re dwelling at a bold new low.

    The Oligarchs who ruled under so called Communism were no “progressive.” so stop trying to use a tarbrush to paint others with your aberrant misconceptions.

  6. Francis says

    Major respect for all LGBT activists in the countries worldwide where their lives are literally on the line for being outspoken against the discrimination against them.

    This religion vs gay fight worldwide is definitely violent and tragic. It’s really more of a cultural fight than anything else. These fundamentalists, and social conservatives, think homosexuality is a blight on the cultures of their respective countries, which is why they fight so hard against it. The more we speak out and make our lives known, the more likely change will accelerate regarding the attitudes towards our existences.

  7. JP says

    While violence should be the last resort in solving conflicts, I’m just gonna say “to hell with it” when it comes to crazy clerics. They should have stayed in their churches instead of assaulting gay folks. My hats are off to the gay activists in Georgia with respect.

  8. Tom in Lazybrook says

    Exactly why do we send billions of dollars to help Georgia? Seriously, if they wish to behave like Russia, then I don’t care if they get swallowed up by them.

    The Orthodox Church is reaching Saudi levels of violence against Gays.

  9. Benny says

    Georgia is an incredibly religious nation – and for the most part, that religion is actually a genuinely unifying and positive force. Homosexuality is still very new to many people there and it is only in recent years since after the reforms has Georgia started to open up to an international environment. This has resulted in a bit of a clash and this is an example. While it may seem disgusting that they were attacked to you, having lived in Georgia and seen the transition over the years, it is actually remarkable that there was a march at all. The progress is astounding and should actually be looked at positively – particularly with the official response from government and the work of the police who a few years ago would’ve just let it happen. Homosexuality was only decriminalised in 2000 – change won’t happen quickly. To the above, “Tom in Lazybrook”, the US dollars are really helping such reforms go through. Also, Georgia is nothing like Saudi Arabia.

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