A Georgian cameraman, beaten up by far-right activists on the sidelines of protests against the holding of an LGBT + march, has died, his employer announced on Sunday (July 11th).
Alexander Lashkarava, 37, who worked for the independent Pirveli channel, was severely beaten on Monday by anti-LGBT + protesters and suffered from multiple fractures on his face. More than 50 journalists were attacked on the same day, as the planned LGBT + march through the streets of the capital, Tbilisi, was finally called off for fear for the safety of participants.
Reporters Without Borders condemned the attacks, adding that journalists “Suffered injuries including concussions, chemical burns and fractures of the arm”. The NGO accused the authorities of “Passive guilt” and found that the police had failed in their duty to protect journalists.
Human rights activists called for a demonstration on Sunday afternoon to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. The Georgian interior ministry assured in a statement released on Sunday that an investigation had been opened to determine the causes of Mr. Lashkarava’s death.
The government strongly criticized
Several personalities and leaders in the world of television have accused the government of Mr. Garibashvili of orchestrating a violent campaign against journalists. “The government does not limit itself to encouraging violence against journalists, it is part of this violence”Pirveli editor-in-chief Nodar Meladze told Agence France-Presse.
“The government has set up violent groups that attack independent media”, he assured, adding that “Riot police regularly target the press”. In June 2019, riot police injured around 40 journalists covering an anti-government protest.
Georgian prime minister has come under heavy criticism from both opposition and human rights activists after taking a stand against holding the LGBT + march, saying he “Unacceptable to a large part of society”. They blame the ruling Georgian Dream party for tacitly supporting nationalist and homophobic groups which have also organized several protests targeting pro-Western opposition parties.