On May 26, on Alt-Info TV, Zurab Makharadze, one of the leaders of the pro-Russian conservative political group Conservative Movement/Alt-Info, called on state structures, in the interests of state security,
not to allow Tbilisi Pride to hold events. According to him, in case a Pride event is conducted, Alt-Info will call on people to take to streets, which may turn into uncontrollable processes - "much heavier than last year."
The perception of the realization of the right to equality and freedom of assembly and demonstration by the LGBTQ+ people as a state threat undermines the protection of fundamental human rights recognized by the Constitution of Georgia. Nevertheless, about a year ago, on July 5, 2021, state structures allowed the pro-Russian, violent group and its accomplices to organize violence and refused to protect the rights of citizens.
On July 5, 2021, Zurab Makharadze, along with other leaders of the Conservative Movement/Alt-Info, carried out group violence that resulted in the injury of 53 journalists and civilians, while TV Pirveli cameraman Lekso Lashkarava died on July 11 after suffering serious health injuries. Zurab Makharadze personally organized the removal of protest tents in front of the Parliament of Georgia and the allocation of various groups to raid the offices of Shame and Tbilisi Pride.
Although Tbilisi City Court ruled on April 4, 2022, that the July 5 violence was an organized action, the organizers of the July 5 violence are still unpunished. The Democracy Research Institute believes that the inaction of state bodies makes them a silent accomplice to the violent events and encourages the violent actions of hate groups.
The Democracy Research Institute once again call on the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia and the State Security Service to:
- immediately launch an investigation into Zurab Makharadze's threatening statement, which contains elements of crime
- take effective preventive measures to prevent violence
- arrest of all those responsible for the July 5 violence.
Makharadze announces he will organize people if a Pride event is held, media platform Publica, May 25, 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/38BlfFI