'Kill them' screamed mob attacking rally

Georgia PM condemns violence at gay rights march

17.05.2013 - 17:13

A violent mob, including priests, broke down barriers and attacked marchers at a rally to mark International Day against Homophobia in Tibilisi, Georgia.

Attackers were heard screaming, "Kill them! Tear them to pieces," according to witnesses. The march, in favour of LGBT rights ended in chaos as police struggled to evacuate the 50 marchers from Tibilisi's Freedom Square. They were taken to safety by special forces.

The rally was condemned earlier by Patriarch Ilia II, head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, but he urged people to behave and restrain from violence. On the morning of the rally, priests gathered and put up posters with slokans like "“Stop Promoting Homosexuality in Georgia” and “Homophobia is the Worst Sin.”

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said, "The right to gather peacefully and to freely express one’s opinion is fundamental to our democracy. Every Georgian citizen benefits fully and equally from this right. Acts of violence, discrimination and restriction of the rights of others will not be tolerated, and any perpetrators of such acts will be dealt with according to the law.”

However, the scenes of violence are a setback for Georgia's european ambitions.