TBILISI, May 18 (RIA Novosti) – Gay rights supporters and opponents gathered in downtown Tbilisi on Saturday, a day after the first-ever march of gay activists in the Georgian capital ended in a scuffle.
More than 200 people participated in two rallies outside Georgia’s government, local media said. One group of participants, the members of the Civil Front, demanded a law banning gay propaganda in the country. Other protesters called for punishing those guilty of violence against gay rights activists, who were attacked on Friday.
Some 30 people were injured when an angry mob led by clergymen broke through police cordons and clashed with gay rights activists in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Friday, the country's health minister said.
Gay rights activists from the Identoba (Identity) group planned to hold a rally outside the former parliament building on the city’s central Rustaveli Avenue on Friday afternoon, to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Tbilisi authorities had authorized the event.
However, thousands of anti-gay protestors, mostly Christian activists, priests and members of conservative non-governmental organizations, gathered in the designated location before the rally began, forcing gay activists to change the venue. Several dozen gay rights activists who came to take part moved to a small area adjacent to Freedom Square, about two hundred meters away from the initial site.
After it became known that the venue of Identoba’s rally had been changed, participants of the anti-gay demonstration moved towards Freedom Square, breaking through police cordons on their way.
The country's health minister David Sergienko said 30 people were injured in violence that followed, 11 of them were admitted to hospital and one later discharged.
Georgia’s police have launched an investigation into the violence. A police spokesman said “several criminal cases” have been opened against “particular persons.”
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