On May 17, 2012, Identoba, a LGTB rights group, organized a march of LGTB people to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.
On Rustaveli Av., near the building of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, the marchers were confronted by a protest group, who formed a human chain to stop them.
Protesters blocked the Rustaveli Av. and did not allow the marchers to walk down the street violating by that the marchers’ right to assembly, which bans interference with a meeting or manifesto organized in accordance with requirements of law. Moreover, one of the most important principles of freedom of assembly and expression requires that the law enforcement agencies take effective measures to make sure there is some distance between marchers and protesters to protect the right to assembly and expression of both groups.
As the marchers walked down the street fighting broke out between them and protesters. In our opinion, during that time, law enforcement agencies should have plaid an especially active role to prevent the marchers and protesters from coming near each other and avoid any scuffle between the two. Moreover, the police should have taken active measures to secure the peaceful continuation of the march. But instead they interfered only after the confrontation led to physical clash between the groups. The police confined their role to stepping in and helped beaten activists to get away from attackers, which is the violation of the positive obligation of the state to protect marchers from protesters.
In our opinion, on May 2017, 2012, LGTB right to freedom of assembly was violated both by protesters’ destructive activities and inactivity, or in some cases even unlawful activities of law enforcement agencies, therefore we demand that the facts be investigated thoroughly and efficiently.