17 May rally - evaluations

Amnesty International: police failed to protect LGBTI activists

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International human rights organization Amnesty International issued a statement following the thwarting of a gay rights rally in Tbilisi by Orthodox Church activists on 17 May. The organization said the police failed to protect LGBT activists from the attack of thousands of anti-gay demonstrators. "Ironically this shameful violence marred a day that is meant to mark solidarity in the face of homophobic violence around the world, and it shows that the Georgian authorities have a long way to go to promote tolerance and protect LGBTI people and their human rights," Amnesty International's John Dalhuisen said.

The statement notes that it is the second consecutive year that police in Tbilisi have "failed" to protect LGBTI activists from violent attacks by Orthodox groups. "It is becoming a dangerous trend in Georgia to condone and leave unpunished the acts of violence against religious and sexual minorities if they are perpetrated by the Orthodox religious clergy or their followers,"Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme Director said "it is simply unacceptable for the authorities to continue to allow attacks in the name of religion or on the basis of anyone's real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity," he added.

Dalhuisen said it was "clear from last year's events, as well as this year's announcements for the planned counter-demonstrations, that violence was to be expected. The police appeared to be woefully unprepared and failed once again to ensure that LGBTI activists could exercise their right to freedom of assembly and expression. They must improve their policing of peaceful demonstrations in future and ensure that this is not allowed to happen again."

 

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