Thousands of people have marched in Georgia after a journalist who was attacked at an anti-LGBTQ march last week died over the weekend.
Alexander Lashkarava, a 36-year-old camera operator, was one of the many journalists attacked during an anti-LGBTQ march that took place last Monday in the country’s capital, Tbilisi. Photos from the protest show Lashkarava with bruises on his face.
Lashkarava was found dead in his home by his mother, according to his employer TV Pirveli, which made the announcement on Sunday. His cause of death was not disclosed.
After the news of Lashkarava’s death was made public, thousands marched on Sunday outside Georgia’s Parliament to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri.
The government – which has been criticised for its failure to protect LGBTQ people and allies – failed to condemn the attack but pledged to investigate Lashkarava’s death on Sunday. The government said today that Lashkarava’s “professional activities were illegally obstructed by threats of violence.”
Georgia is one of a number of countries facing criticism from the wider European community for rising homophobia after its Pride celebrations were halted by violence and vandalism. Zagreb Pride, in Croatia, also saw violent attacks for the first time in ten years, while Hungary’s government has introduced new, controversial anti-LGBTQ laws.
Last week, dozens of journalists were attacked during a rally in the capital after organisers of Tbilisi Pride were forced to rearrange celebrations. Videos of the event show far-right thugs storming Tbilisi Pride’s headquarters, tearing down rainbow flags and attacking the media.
At the time, Pride organisers criticised the government for not providing enough police protection for the event to go ahead safely despite a constant dialogue with the organisers.
“The ongoing actions of the government have shown yet again that they are not willing to fulfil their direct responsibilities,” Tbilisi Pride said in a statement. ‘Inaction by the government has placed the health and lives of the citizens of Georgia under real danger.”