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Georgia police raid homes of far-right leaders over anti-LGBT+ violence

Lily Wakefield July 16, 2021
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Guram Palavandishvil georgia tbilisi pride hate group

Guram Palavandishvil. (Facebook/ Guram Palavandishvil)

Police in Georgia have raided the home of far-right leaders, a prominent media figure and an archpriest in connection with anti-LGBT+ violence in Tbilisi.

On 5 July, a mob violently rioted in Georgia’s capital in protest against a planned Pride march, leaving more than 50 journalists injured, including one cameraman who subsequently died. 

On Friday (16 July), police told local media that Guram Palavandishvil, a right-wing activist and founder of the anti-LGBT+ non-parliamentary political party Georgian Idea, had been brought in for questioning and that authorities were searching his home.

Palavandishvil was open on social media about his plans to protest Tbilisi Pride, describing LGBT+ people as “dirty” and journalists as “enemies of the nation”, but told reporters that the LGBT+ folk were the ones who started the violence.

According to Agenda, he said: “No illegal thing could be found in our house. In general, we are very law-abiding people, unless the laws contradict the 10 commandments.

“If they contradict the 10 commandments, neither the US ambassador, nor the Turkish ambassador, nor Putin can stand against us.

“We express concern that the instigators of the violence – Tbilisi Pride, TV stations, media terrorists – will not be detained.

“I have no expectations that I would be arrested, you should be arrested, you terrorists. There was terror on your part and we could have died as well. Everyone could have died.”

The founder of Georgia’s right-wing media outlet Alt-Info Zurab Makharadze, archpriest Spiridon Tskipurishvili and Georgian Idea party leader Levan Chachua were also brought in for questioning.

The men were interrogated for six hours, before being released. They reported that police had seized mobile phones and walkie-talkies from their homes, as well as registered weapons.

Since the violent riots on 5 July, human rights groups and LGBT+ activists have taken to streets, with many demanding that Georgia’s prime minister Irakli Garibashvili resign.

At a cabinet meeting this week, Garibashvili blamed the outbreak of violence on the LGBT+ community, saying it was “unreasonable” for them to stage a Pride March.

“Holding of the so-called Pride march is not reasonable as it creates a threat of civil confrontation,” he said, adding that such events are “unacceptable for a large segment of the Georgian society”.

Related topics: Georgia, Tbilisi Pride

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