The Georgia bishop who help organize a demonstration against a Gay Pride march which turned violent has
justified the protest.
An estimated 20,000 people led by
priests attacked a group of 50 gay rights demonstrators in downtown
Tbilisi, Georgia on Friday, sending 14 people to the hospital.
The throng of counter-demonstrators
broke through police cordons and began hurling eggs and rocks at the
marchers. Several priests brazenly attacked one of the several
minibuses attempting to carry demonstrators to safety. In images
captured by local television, one priest is seen repeatedly smashing
the vehicle's windshield with a stool. Another attempts to drag a
driver out of the bus. Several of the priests involved spoke
on-camera with the media. (The video is embedded on this page.
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“They wanted to kill all of us,”
said Irakli Vacharadze, whose group Identobia organized the gay
In his Sunday sermon, Bishop Iakob
Iakobashvili said that while the perpetrators of the violence should
be punished, the Georgia Orthodox Church could not idly stand by and
allow the activists “to humiliate us,” The
New York Times reported.
“When there are so many people, it is
difficult to speak only about Christianity and morals,”
Iakobashvili told congregants from his pulpit in Tbilisi. “Many
were not able to overcome their nature and saw enemies in the others,
said bad words and punched them. I was told clergymen were among
them. I am not able to either condemn or justify them. They are
And while Georgian police at first
promised a quick response, no arrested had been made as of Sunday.
The violence occurred a day following
reports of a man being murdered in the southern city of Volgograd
after he came out gay to two male friends.
tortured, murdered in Russia after coming out gay.)