In Georgia, the strength of the government shows

The atmosphere is very different from recent weeks. On Friday, May 17, in Tbilisi, Georgia, chants and chants replaced a month of whistles in front of parliament demanding the withdrawal of a controversial bill on “foreign influence.” The crowd has a different look: few young people, but plenty of families, old people and priests. Tens of thousands of Georgians have flocked to the capital since dawn to take part in a “Day of Family Purity” that protects so-called traditional values ​​in this former Soviet republic in the Caucasus.

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The celebration, initiated by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014, intentionally coincides with the World Day Against Homosexuality. But this year, it has shown the government’s strength above all else, cheered by thousands of demonstrators every evening since reintroducing its bill, modeled after a Russian law aimed at silencing society and free media.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakitse (center) during the

Several leaders of the ruling Georgian Dream party, including Prime Minister Irakli Kobakitse, joined the procession to the city’s largest church, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the construction of which was financed by country strongman Bidzina Ivanishvili. The government has also officially declared this day as a national holiday and public holiday in 2024.

“Homosexual Propaganda”

Aware of the risk of provocations and confrontation, opponents of the “foreign influence” bill called for no demonstrations that day. “The government wants to show that it is stronger than the protesters. David Matiachvili, a 22-year-old journalism student who had come to collect the march, sighed. Most of those who came today are government employees and they know very well that they will lose their jobs if they don’t come. But some of them are hopeless, He adds. It’s Homosexuality Campaign Day and people are against LGBT. »

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At the procession, most share the opinion “Family is a mom and dad”. “We are here to protect the purity of family values ​​and express our loyalty to our traditions and state”, says Tamar Khorgouani, 60, who came with her daughter and grandson. Like many participants, this Orthodox believer shows great hostility towards sexual minorities. She is sure of it too “Europeans want to force Georgians to marry same-sex to join EU”. “Georgia has no choice but to join Europe, but it must accept us as we are, with our values ​​and our dignity!”, She assures.

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