Crowds break up gay rights rally in Georgia

TBILISI Fri May 17, 2013 5:51pm IST

1 of 10. Orthodox Christian activists march before clashes with gay rights activists at an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) rally in Tbilisi, May 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili

Related Topics

TBILISI (Reuters) - Priests and thousands of other Georgians broke through police barricades and forced gay rights activists to flee on Friday, cutting short their rally to mark the international day against homophobia.

Holding banners saying "Stop Homosexual Propaganda in Georgia!" and "Not in our city!", the demonstrators swarmed into a square in central Tbilisi where about 50 Georgians were rallying in support of gay rights. Police escorted the gay rights supporters onto buses and drove them away to avoid violence.

Several people, including some journalists, received minor injuries, Georgian media said.

"We won't allow these sick people to hold gay parades in our country," said Zhuzhuna Tavadze, brandishing a bunch of nettles and adding that she was ready to fight.

"It's against our traditions and our morals."

Later in the evening, rowdy crowds took to the streets and started shouting at people they thought might be homosexual.

Gay rights activists said they were disappointed.

"These people (gay rights demonstrators)should have the right to express their views and to hold demonstrations," said Nino Bolkvadze, a lawyer of the Identity non-governmental organization.

Georgia is a former Soviet republic of 4.5 million people, most of whom are Orthodox Christians. There are only a few cafes or bars in the capital Tbilisi where gays meet.

On Thursday, the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, urged authorities not to allow the gay rights rally, saying it was "a violation of the majority's right" and "an insult" to Georgian traditions. He has previously described homosexuality as an "anomaly and a disease".

(Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Elizabeth Piper and Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Rihanna Rails, Dropped

ENTERTAINMENT SHOWCASE

Tanovic Speaks

Tanovic Speaks

Emran Hashmi is a decent, calm guy: Tanovic.  Full Article 

Another Stunt

Another Stunt

Daredevil Nik Wallenda to walk over portion of Chicago skyline.  Full Article 

Activist DiCaprio

Activist DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio named U.N. messenger of peace for climate.  Full Article 

Honorary Globe

Honorary Globe

George Clooney to receive Golden Globes' Cecil B. DeMille award.  Full Article 

'High' Days

'High' Days

Singer Robin Thicke says was high during 'Blurred Lines' breakout year.  Full Article 

Tour Announced

Tour Announced

Yusuf/Cat Stevens announces new album, Europe-N.American tour  Full Article 

Fashion Week

Fashion Week

Flowers, pattern-mixing, sportswear triumph at London Fashion Week.  Full Article 

Modern Art

Modern Art

Israeli artist depicts pain of rootless Jews in Berlin exhibition.  Full Article 

Saint Retrospective

Saint Retrospective

Niki de Saint Phalle shoots to kill at Paris retrospective  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage