Police in Georgia have made multiple arrests including of several leaders of the far-right group Alt info as they attempteded to block Saturday’s Pride festival.
The arrests came some 15 hours before Pride Fest, an event organised by Tbilisi Pride, was due to begin.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, members of the group as well as several Georgian Orthodox Priests attempted to occupy the space on Mount Mtasminda in Tbilisi where the festival was due to be held.
Alt Info has claimed that both Zurab Makharadze and Irakli Martinenko, two prominent leaders of the group, are among those arrested.
Witnesses interviewed by Alt Info also confirmed the arrest of prominent far-right campaigner Guram Palavandishvili and his son.
Shota Martinenko, another prominent leader of Alt Info, hosted a live broadcast on their TV channel and called for supporters to come out in the streets tomorrow and directly calling for violence.
The groups also turned their ire on the government, with Alt Info’s Shota Martinenko addressing them by saying: ‘we know that they made deal with the West’.
‘We call for everyone to come out, let’s not leave the country in the hands of those faggots. Come to Tbilisi’, they said.
The ruling Georgian Dream party has in recent years faced growing accusations of enabling, and even encouraging far-right groups including Alt Info. The European Union referenced the impunity the group faced for organising last year’s homophobic riots in their rejection of Georgia’s EU membership application.
Alt Info has planned to meet on Saturday at 12:00 outside parliament. Pride Fest is due to kick off at 16:00.