17 May rally

Beselia: committee conclusion does not go beyond Patriarch's evaluation

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Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights discussed a draft conclusion on 17 May events when anti-gay demonstrators led by Orthodox Church clergy raided gay rights rally in downtown Tbilisi. Over 10 thousand citizens appealed the Georgian Parliament following the incident to draw up a conclusion assessing the acts of violence. "We demand to adequately and timely evaluate the facts. Inaction might be too costly for Georgian statehood, because we think that we are now facing a serious threat of religious fundamentalism and theocracy. This can only be averted through one civilized way – all violators and those who encouraged violence should be punished in accordance with the law," the citizens' statement reads.
When speaking of the incident, Chairman of the Human Rights Committee Eka Beselia said that both sides had right to hold counter-rallies and the state was obliged to ensure the security and freedom of gathering of the participants of both rallies. According to Beselia, the Interior Ministry managed to do so. Speaking at the Committee Session, Beselia said that the conclusion of the Committee does not go beyond the evaluation made by the Georgian Patriarch.
According to Beselia, the people whose signatures were on the petition attended the Committee session, however they said they had not not signed it. Thus, according to the Committee Chairman, the list should be double checked. Participants of the session Rati Maisuradze and Giorgi Gabedava said their names were on the list of signatories although they had not signed the petition. Chairman of the People's Movement Nana Kakabadze agreed with them, saying a criminal case should be launched on the alleged fraud.

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