Strasbourg court ordered Georgia to pay 193,500 euros for failing to ensure safety of LGBTQ+ activists on May 17
The European Court of Human Rights ordered Georgia to pay € 193,500 in compensations to the victims of mob attack on LGBTQ+ activists on May 17, 2013 in Georgia.
The court found that Articles 3 and 14 of the Convention on Human Rights had been violated, which provided for discriminatory and inhuman treatment of LGBTQ+ people. The court also found a violation of Article 11 (prohibition of freedom of assembly and expression).
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The Strasbourg court ruled that the Georgian police had failed to ensure the safety of the activists, and that the respondent, state of Georgia, had failed to ensure freedom of assembly and expression provided for under the Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“While the reality and the scale of the risk were fully realized, the police, instead of taking more effective measures to allow the protesters to continue their peaceful action, reduced their role to developing a plan to evacuate [the demonstrators] as the only alternative”. “Such an attitude indicates that allowing the peaceful anti-homophobic demonstration to be held was never a priority for the country’s authorities”, the court said in a statement.
What happened on May 17th
On May 17, 2013, LGBTQ activists planned to hold a small-scale rally in front of the parliament in celebration of the International Day Against Homophobia. However, a small group of LGBTQ people and their supporters were attacked by tens of thousands of violent homophobic mobs.
Aggressive groups that threw stones, wood and iron objects were led by representatives of the clergy. One of the priests was holding a large wooden chair, a “stool”, which he used to beat up the LGBTQI protesters. Since then, the priest with a stool has become the symbol of that day.
The police evacuated LGBTQI activists on buses, however, stones were still being thrown at them. Several dozen people were injured.
“May 17, 2013 was an important day. That day some things were finally named. We saw the extent of the hatred towards us. Everything that has been hidden before has come to the surface”, said Giorgi Tabagari, an LGBTQI activist and organizer of Tbilisi Pride.
No one was punished for the 2013 violence, which made LGBTQI activists believe that the government had encouraged violence with impunity, which meant that homophobic groups were still being encouraged.
In 2014, the Patriarchate turned May 17, one of the most important dates for the LGBTQI into a day of the Sanctity of Family and promised to protect the country from “legalizing immorality”.