A rare attempt by Georgian gay rights activists to hold a pride parade didn’t go so well. About 40 people were marching through the capital Tbilisi to mark the International Day Against Homophobia on Thursday when dozens of radical Orthodox Christians, led by priests, surrounded them and demanded they stop. The confrontation quickly descended into a fistfight; police detained several people on both sides.
According to local journalists, the Orthodox Christian protesters were part of an influential group called the Union of Orthodox Parents. They reportedly told members of the march that their actions would lead to moral depravity among the younger generation. Some of them grabbed rainbow-coloured flags from the activists and trampled them underfoot.
The Orthodox church wields great power in Georgia, as it does in Russia, where a similar incident happened on the same day in St Petersburg.