Monitoring Results of RalliesHeld outside Amirani Cinema
Representatives of the Democracy Research Institute had been watching the rallies organized by ultra-right-wing extremist groups to disrupt the premiere ofAnd Then We Dancedin front of the Amirani cinema for three days.

Monitoring results of November 8

Organizers - On November 8, 2019, at 4:00 pm, supporters of far-right-wing extremist groups gathered in the Vera Park and in front of the Philharmonic Hall. The rally was organized by GuramPalavandishvili, Chairman of the Society for the Child's Rights, SandroBregadze, leader of ultranationalist Georgian March, businessman Levan Vasadze and Dimitri Lortkipanidze,Chairman of the Georgian-Russian Public Center of Primakov Foundation.

Goal of the rally - The announced goal of the homophobic rally was to disrupt the premiere of a Georgian-Swedish film, And Then We Danced, including by using violent methods, which cast doubt on the legitimate nature of the rally from the very beginning.

Protesters burned the flag of the LGBT community in front of the Philharmonic Hall. "This is how all Sodom and Gomorrah will be burnt down in Georgia", "Today the Georgian nation needs to stand side by side", "I urge you to come and stand with us," the protesters chanted.

Obstacles encountered byviewers - Initially, due to the threat coming from the homophobic rally, which could not be neutralized by the police due to their insufficient number,[1] it was difficult for the viewers to enter or leave the cinema building. The process took place amid aggressive shouting and verbal abuse by demonstrators.

The violent nature of the rally - To break into the cinema, demonstrators were throwing various items and using pyrotechnics, thus trying to break through the police cordon. One law enforcement officer was injured bypyrotechnics. The violent protesters did not obey police instructions. Despite the insufficient number of demonstrators and police demands, police were unable to open a road until the end of the rally.

Demonstrators verbally and physically abused Davit Berdzenishvili, a member of the Republican Party;civil activist Ana Subeliani suffered an injury, after protesters threw an object at her face. The targets of the aggression were also the journalists of Formula and Mtavari TV channels. Alcohol consumption could beobserved at the rally, resulting in particular aggression among drunken demonstrators.

Clergymen - Clergymen were active at the rally, urging police not to protect the supporters of "depravity propaganda".
Monitoring results of November 9 and 10
Fewer people took part in the homophobic rallies around the Amirani and Tbilisi Gallery cinemas on November 9 and 10, compared to November 8, and the protestswere largely peaceful, without incidents or disruption to traffic.

Key findings
The November 8 rally went beyond the scope of a peaceful demonstration and became extremely violentfrom the very beginning. The Democracy ResearchInstitute praises the Ministry of Internal Affairs for taking adequate measures, as a result of which, the far-right groups failed to disrupt the premiere. Nevertheless, the Democracy Research Institute believes that the activation of radical groups, which have been encouraged by impunity, isthe result of the State’swrong policy. Particular attention should be paid to the delayed investigation against the leaders of the far-right extremist groups, which enables the groups to mobilize large forces and commit new illegal acts.

Despite the pledge in the Georgian National Strategy on Combating Terrorism, there is currently no programme for the prevention of violent extremism in Georgia. Given that the extremist narratives of certain groups unjustifiably increase the degree of radicalization, such inactivity is inadmissible.

In view of the above, the Democracy Research Institute calls on the State Security Service of Georgia and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia to:
  • Ensure a strict and fair approach to hate crime;
  • Conduct investigations into violent actions in the shortest possible time;
  • Study and analyze the activities of radical extremist groups;
  • Based on this analysis and with the involvement of representatives of academia, NGOs and the rest of society, develop a programme for the prevention of violent extremism and radicalization.
The monitoring was carried out within "Understanding and combating the far-right extremism and nationalism in Georgia" – a project financiallysupported by the Embassy of the Netherlands.
[1]Riot policeshowed up in the vicinity the cinema only later.