TBILISI, Georgia — Thousands of people demonstrated in front of Georgia’s parliament on Sunday evening, demanding that the ex-Soviet country’s prime minister resign in the wake of the murder of a journalist who was attacked and battered by anti-LGBT demonstrators.
According to the TV Pirveli channel where he worked, cameraman Alexander Lashkarava was found dead in his house by his mother early Sunday. Last Monday, Lashkarava was one of several dozen journalists assaulted by opponents of an LGBT march slated for that day in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital.
The Tbilisi March For Dignity was canceled by organizers when authorities failed to offer appropriate security assurances. Opponents of the march obstructed the capital’s major thoroughfare, branded journalists covering the demonstration as pro-LGBT propagandists, and pelted them with clubs and bottles.
Lashkarava was allegedly assaulted by a crowd of 20 individuals, according to his coworker Miranda Baghaturia. Later, local television stations broadcast footage of him with bruises on his face and blood on the floor around him. According to accounts, he suffered several injuries and required surgery before being released from the hospital on Thursday.
The reason for his death remained unknown at the time.
Lashkarava’s death was termed as “a tragedy” by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and President Salome Zurabishvili.
Georgia, a conservative Black Sea nation, has a high level of animosity toward sexual minorities.
The government and the Georgian Orthodox Church, according to the Tbilisi Pride organization, are supporting opponents of the scheduled march. The Open Caucasus Media organization released a photo of a guy it claimed was a local TV journalist being dragged away from the scene by an Orthodox priest in a headlock.
Garibashvili said the march was planned by “radical opposition” forces headed by exiled former President Mikheil Saakashvili. Zurabishvili denounced the violence, but Garibashvili claimed the march was organized by “radical opposition” forces led by exiled former President Mikheil Saakashvili.
A huge throng of protestors gathered in Tbilisi on Sunday, demanding that those responsible for the attack on journalists be punished and that Garibashvili resign. Some protestors accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of inciting violence by openly condemning the LGBT march.