"The actions of the extremist protestors in Yerevan constitute criminal behaviour, which is based on discrimination against sexual minorities. This kind of hate speech, which amounted to threats of violence, is illegal under the Armenian Constitution."
*via Human Rights House Network
Violent reactions against peaceful diversity and LGBT demonstrations
Peaceful demonstrations celebrating the 10th anniversary of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, and the International Day against Homophobia were met with violence and retaliation.
Friday, 08 June 2012, by HRHF Geneva Office, based on various sources and HRHN partners
The 10th anniversary of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development was marked by tension and violence in Armenia. In Belarus, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine, LGBT rights demonstrations have been met with resistance from authorities and conservative sectors of society. The United Nations 2012 world day of cultural diversity, on 21 May, sought to encourage support for diversity, to foster an intercultural dialogue on inclusion, and to combat isolation and stereotyping.
ARMENIA: DEMONSTRATIONS FOR DIVERSITY ATTACKED
The peaceful march staged in Yerevan on 21 May, organised by Human Rights House Network partners PINK and Women's Resource Centre, to promote and celebrate Armenia’s cultural, ethnic, human and fauna diversity, was met with violence from civilian protestors. The march - which included participants from various social backgrounds; civic activists, refugees living in Armenia, and representatives of NGOs and international organisations - was surrounded by a human chain formed by the civilian protestors, who directed homophobic insults and fascist slogans at the procession.
Prior to the march, misleading information had been spread via social media, claiming that it was in fact a gay parade, provoking the discriminatory actions of the civilian protestors. The extremist protestors attempted to stop the march, threatening violence and intimidating the participants, the homophobic hate speech directed towards the marchers was framed as “patriotic.” Police clashed with the protestors, and managed to stop them from gaining entry to the art exhibition that had been organised for the occasion, however, PINK reports that the situation was not handled well by police, as their presence failed to ensure the safety of the activists.
The actions of the extremist protestors in Yerevan constitute criminal behaviour, which is based on discrimination against sexual minorities. This kind of hate speech, which amounted to threats of violence, is illegal under the Armenian Constitution.
[Read also: HATE CRIME: DIY bar in Armenia capital Yerevan under neo-nazi arson attack and Neo-nazi attack Diversity march in Armenia capital Yerevan calling it "gay pride"]
GEORGIA: LGBT RIGHTS DEMONSTRATIONS NEED TO ENJOY PROTECTION BY AUTHORITIES
In Tbilisi, a peaceful demonstration organised in support of LGBT rights on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, on May 17th, was met with opposition from protestors, most of whom were Orthodox Christians or priests. BBC reports that one priest among the civilian protestors called the march “propaganda [for a] wrong way of life.” These protestors called on the police to put a stop to the march, and when the police refused to do so, the protestors took matters into their own hands, and violence erupted. Police stepped in, and arrests where made on both sides.
Human Rights House Tbilisi member, the Human Rights Centre reported that the police action was unsatisfactory in protecting the LGBT activists and their right to freedom of expression; despite contacting the police in advance about possible threats to their safety during the march, activists’ security was still not guaranteed.
Furthermore, Human Rights Centre reports that when making arrests, the police targeted the LGBT activists, rather than the violent protestors.