Thousands of people gather in Georgia after TV cameraman dies | Georgia News


Alexander Lashkarava was one of dozens of journalists beaten up while covering attacks on LGBTQ activists last week.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of the Georgian capital after the death of a cameraman, one of dozens of journalists beaten in attacks on LGBTQ activists in Tbilisi this week.

LGBTQ activists in Georgia, a South Caucasus country, called off a pride march on Monday after violent groups opposed to the event stormed and ransacked their office in Tbilisi and targeted activists and journalists.

Cameraman Alexander Lashkarava, 36, who was beaten in the incident, was found dead at his home by his mother, TV Pirveli, the channel he worked for, reported on Sunday. He did not disclose the cause of death.

Thousands of protesters gathered outside parliament and the office of the ruling Georgian Dream party on Sunday to call for the resignation of the prime minister and interior minister over the violence and death in Lashkarava.

Lashkarava is seen after being beaten up last week [TV Pirveli/Handout via Reuters]

Elene Khoshtaria, an opposition politician, splashed red paint on the door of a government building in protest.

Lashkarava’s death has outraged human rights activists in Georgia, who accuse the authorities of encouraging hate groups and failing to protect journalists and LGBTQ supporters from harm.

The Interior Ministry said it was investigating Lashkarava’s death, but did not say what the cause was.

Members of the media attend Lashkarava memorial rally [Irakli Gedenidze/Reuters]

The ministry later said that “Lashkarava’s professional activities have been illegally hampered by threats of violence” during attacks on LGBTQ supporters.

Georgian President Salome Zourabishvili wrote on Twitter on Sunday that she had visited Lashkarava’s family.

“What happened is a tragedy and I extend my condolences to the entire media community and to all of Georgia,” she wrote. “He must be investigated and those responsible must be punished.”

More than 50 journalists have been targeted in the violence, police said on Monday, urging Western countries to call on Georgia to guarantee freedom of expression and assembly.

The planned pride march, which was canceled before it began, drew criticism from the church and conservatives, while Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said the march risked provoking a public confrontation.

More than 50 journalists have been targeted in violence over the past week [Irakli Gedenidze/Reuters]


Source Link