Authorities in Georgia said on Saturday they had arrested over 25 individuals after ultra-nationalist protesters clashed with security forces as they tried to violate the premiere of an award-winning film about homosexual love.
A couple of hundred demonstrators blocked the street outside a theatre in the city center of the nation’s capital, Tbilisi, on Friday before their very first screening of”And We Danced”. The movie tells the story of 2 young man Georgian ballet fans falling in love.
“This isn’t simply a film. That is an insult to our religion, our customs and all that’s sacred for us,” Guram Damenia, that arrived dressed in a classic Georgian costume, told Reuters.
Two police officers and a young girl, who had been attempting to see the movie, were hurt, authorities said.
But reception was mixed from the conservative Caucasian country. Same-sex relationships remain largely Founded in Georgia, in which dancing is revered as a member of the country’s heritage.
Tickets for its scheduled three days of screenings in a small number of cinemas in Tbilisi and the port town of Batumi sold out fast, but the nation’s powerful Orthodox Church denounced the movie as an effort to undermine Christian values and legalize “sin”.
“I don’t think it’s normal to have numerous policemen here to save me and my buddies from folks who believe I shouldn’t see a film,” stated 22-year-old Tina Iukhutashvili. “I shouldn’t hesitate to go to see a film”.
Police said they arrested 25 people, one for assaulting the girl and 24 for hooliganism and disobeying police orders.
Three more were detained over similar episodes in Batumi and investigations were ongoing, the Interior Ministry said in a announcement.
The Ministry also stated it had started investigations into 4 instances linked to the events.
“Photo and video stuff on the events have been processed to identify wrongdoers and supply proper legal answer,” the ministry stated.
A citizen, Ana Subeliani, was injured on the spectacle, the Ministry explained. LGBT+ bands stated on social networking she had received many stitches. A car belonging to the Ministry of Internal affairs was damaged, the announcement added.
Subeliani posted a photograph of her injuries Facebook, stating: “My buddies and I had been seriously beaten and threatened.”
In a different Facebook article concerning the time she spent in the hospital because of her injuries, Subeliani wrote: “It’s tiring to reside in this nation, painful and hard. However, nobody can stir me and I will fight for liberty and justice!”.
Over the last ten years, as it’s modernized and introduced radical reforms, Georgia has seen a cultural struggle between liberal forces and religious conservatives.
The nation has passed anti-discrimination legislation in a bid to move closer to the European Union however homophobia remains prevalent, LGBT+ rights groups have stated.
“I am so moved and motivated by all of the courageous moviegoers who stood their ground and wouldn’t be intimidated,” that the 39-year-old, who had been born in Sweden to parents of descent, posted on social networking.