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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 3, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 23
Right-wing thugs attack pro-Gay café in Tbilisi, Georgia
Section One
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Right-wing thugs attack pro-Gay café in Tbilisi, Georgia

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Right-wing thugs pelted customers of a vegan café in Tbilisi, Georgia, with sausages and kabobs before punching and kicking them, according to a May 30 Facebook post.

Witnesses said the attackers were 'far-right extremists,' and the owners of the Kiwi Café labeled them 'neo-Nazis' with 'fascist ideas.'

According to the owners' Facebook post, the attackers 'pulled out grilled meat, sausages, and fish and started eating them and throwing them at us... they were just trying to provoke our friends and disrespect us.'

Members of the right-wing group had come to the neighborhood a month earlier, the café owners said, and asked a nearby shopkeeper whether foreigners or members of the local LGBT community frequented the café.

The café has, in fact, become a popular meeting place for foreigners and LGBT folks in the year that it's been open, locals told reporters.

The owners have pledged to stay open and said say they are 'ready to accept all customers regardless of their nationality, race, appearance, age, gender, sexual orientation, or religious views.'

The attack on the café followed a May 26 march by right-wing Georgian nationalists timed to correspond with the country's Independence Day festivities.

During a march through the capital, a group appeared carrying banners with the slogan 'Georgia for the Georgians,' a slogan associated with a former president of the country, the late Zviad Gamsakhurdia.

Gamsakhurdia was Georgia's president from April 1991, when the country seceded from the Soviet Union, to January 1992, when he was deposed in a coup prompted by his increasingly authoritarian rule. The extreme Georgian nationalism of his administration also drove ethnic minorities to declare independence in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

It remains unclear whether the meat assault was a one-off hate crime or an organized political action by Georgian nationalists spurred on by the right's Independence Day march.

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