Georgia LGBTI activists have had to cancel IDAHOBIT celebrations, citing security concerns.
The decision has come after far-right groups organized large homophobic rallies on 12 and 13 May.
They threatened to assault or kill anyone who came out to support LGBTI people.
Despite the cancellation, some activists have vowed they will still go to the Government’s Chancellery Building today and protest.
Giorgi Tabagari, from the Equality Movement, has said there are up to 10 friends who plan to attend the ‘self-organized demonstration’.
‘Considering the real threats, we, the LGBT activists, made a very hard, mutual decision to give up our constitutional right to self-expression at this time and cancel the peaceful demonstration which was supposed to take place on 17 May at the Chancellery of the Georgian Government, in order not to support interested forces in making any disorder’, the statement from the Equality Movement said.
According to the Interior Ministry, police were ready to guarantee ‘maximum protection for demonstration participants’.
Church marks IDAHOT with 300 heterosexual weddings
The Georgian Orthodox Church will mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) with its own demonstration of ‘Family Purity’. The Georgia church will instead aim to hold 400 opposite-sex weddings across the region this Thursday.
This is not the first time that the Church has held actions in opposition of IDAHOBIT, which takes place each year on 17 May.
Back in 2013, a priest-led rally clashed with LGBTI rights demonstrators in Tblisi, the capital of the former Soviet Republic. The following year, the Church decreed 17 May as ‘Family Purity Day’ in Georgia. It has continued to celebrate its anti-gay stance annually since.
Last week, the leader of the conservative group, Patriarchate’s Chokhosnebi, told Netgazeti that 20 marriages were already confirmed in Tblisi. Zviad Sekhniashvili said up to 400 weddings would take place across the country (population 4million) as a whole.
‘The Orthodox Church stands for the conservative values and promote pro-Russian rhetoric in Georgia,’ said Giorgi Tabagari of Equality Movement to GSN. ‘This encompasses fighting against the freedom of assembly, taking control of education, and getting involved in governmental issues. At the end of the day, this facilitates a crisis of secularism.;