2020-05-18 11:39:00

LGBT activists in Georgia hold annual rally online due to pandemic

Tbilisi, May 18, Interfax - Members of the LGBT community and NGOs defending their rights could not hold their annual march marking the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on Sunday due to the state of emergency declared in the country over the Covid-19 pandemic, and limited themselves to an online assembly.

The organizers of the online event told reporters the event had been held in a videoconference format.

Besides, activists of human rights organizations and representatives of the LGBT community held a "home" campaign in Georgia's cities on Sunday, during which they put pride flags in their windows, they said.

The organizers also said they had asked the Tbilisi mayor's office to light the Tbilisi television tower, located on Mount Mtsaminda, in the colors of the rainbow flag, but their request was declined. In particular, they said the mayor's office said this was due to the plans to light the television tower in the colors of the flag of Turkmenistan on May 17 to mark the Turkmen Constitution and State Flag Day, a national Turkmen holiday.

The Tbilisi mayor's office later told reporters that it had received several letters from various organizations and embassies asking to light the television tower on May 17 to mark various dates and, because all the requests could not be granted simultaneously, a decision was made to light the television tower white in the coming days as a sign of respect and solidarity to everyone.

Rallies in defense of the rights of the LGBT community held in Georgia on May 17 normally led to riots and clashes with their opponents or had few participants and were held amid tightened police protection in the past few years. Representatives of the Georgian Patriarchate and some public groups campaigning for the preservation of traditional family values oppose LGBT community events annually on that day.

In the meantime, representatives of the Georgian Orthodox Church went on the streets of Tbilisi on Sunday, sprinkling them with holy water in celebration of the Family Holiness Day.

The Family Holiness Day was established by the Georgian patriarchate in 2014. Every year, representatives of the patriarchate and defenders of traditional family values hold marches in Tbilisi which draw thousands of participants. In this regard, LGBT rights activists have repeatedly complained in conversations with journalists that these marches prevent them from holding their campaigns on May 17 as planned.