Tbilisi Pride Forges Ahead, 23 Counterprotesters Detained

Tbilisi Pride Week began on July 1 with a screening of the “March for Dignity” documentary about the LGBTQ rights struggle in Georgia, with activists, LGBTQ allies, and foreign diplomats, including British, French, German, and Israeli in attendance. The event moved ahead as far-right and ultraconservative groups, including businessman-turned-politician Levan Vasadze affiliated counterprotesters, descended upon the opening with a disruption attempt, leading to 23 arrests as they threw eggs, plastic bottles and clashed with the police. As the guests were arriving, some of the counterprotesters attempted to break through a police cordon. Shame Movement, which co-organizes the Week, said its activist Sopio Kuchava was assaulted and hit in the abdomen, and the attacker was then arrested, while Tbilisi Pride reported that a U.S. Embassy representative was egged. The hate groups again attempted to break through the police lines near the conclusion of the event. No reports of major injuries or hospitalizations emerged throughout the evening, however.