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IDAHOT Report 2016: Georgia

Activists in Georgia faced many difficulties this year. Since anti-LGBT attacks in 2013 targeted IDAHOT celebrations, the community and activists have continued to experience persecution and threats that make public events very difficult to organize.

Anti-LGBT sentiment was also supported this year by outside forces. Russian and Western Christians gathered in Tbilisi for the World Congress of Families. The event was held in Tbilisi specifically to support the Georgian Orthodox Church’s ‘Day of Families’, which was launched in 2013 to counter pro-equality IDAHOT celebrations on May 17.

But despite the threat of violent persecution activists attempted once again to hold a small action to mark the day. Campaigners from a number of groups held an unannounced ‘flash’ event to mark the day and to remind the world that the LGBT community continues to exist, despite their persecution. These demonstrations included the placing of a symbolic rainbow stool outside the meeting place of the World Congress of Families, which was later removed by police.

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A number of activists also used the day to protest the WCF’s support of the Georgian Orthodox Church with signs, slogans and chants. These protests unfortunately led to 10 arrests of campaigners, who were charged with vandalism and/or trespassing.

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