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Georgia Pride festival in Tbilisi stormed by right-wing protesters

Up to 2,000 anti-LGBT protesters stormed a gay pride festival in Georgia's capital Tbilisi on Saturday, forcing its cancellation.

The right-wing protesters, who included Orthodox Christian clergy, scuffled with police, rushed the stage and burned rainbow flags.

The organisers and Georgia's president blamed anti-LGBT hate speech that preceded the event, and said the police had failed to protect festival-goers.

Homophobia remains rife in Georgia.

President Salome Zurabishvili said the ruling Georgian Dream party had failed to condemn its followers who had openly incited aggression towards LGBT activists.

Interior Minister Alexander Darakhvelidze, however, argued that the large area had been difficult to police.

"This was an open area, participants of the protest managed to bypass the security and find other ways to enter the event area," he said.

"However we managed to evacuate the participants of the Pride festival and organisers from the area, no one was harmed," he added.

The event's participants were bussed to safety, Reuters news agency reported.


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