TBILISI – A series of activities organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups in Georgia were on Thursday canceled after members of the far-right issued threats and organized a rally in Tbilisi city center.
May 17, the day the World Health Organization stopped labeling homosexuality a disease in 1990, is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia and activists often use the opportunity to hold special events and rallies in defense of LGBT rights.
But in 2014, the same day was named “Day of Family Purity” in Georgia, and rallies organized with the help of the Orthodox Church are now held annually in Tbilisi.
IDAHTB events have routinely been met with aggression since 2012 and LGBT protesters have often faced violence from ultra-nationalistic groups that gather to defend their so-called traditional family values.
On Thursday, LGBT rights groups announced they had been forced to cancel the events they had planned as the far-right had issued many serious threats and the risk of violence was believed to be too high.
Images by an epa-efe photographer on the ground showed that the Family Purity rally took over the streets in Tbilisi instead, with hundreds of people clad in traditional costumes marching with the national flag and religious imagery.