A Georgian cameraman who was assaulted during last week’s violent counter-protests in Tbilisi has died.
Lesko Lashkarava was found dead in his mother’s home on July 11 according to a statement by his employer, TV Pirveli. The cause of death is under investigation.
Lashkarava and around 50 other reports were assaulted during the violence that disrupted a Tbilisi Pride event last Monday. Before the Tbilisi March for Dignity could begin, right-wing insurgents led a violent counter-attack, ransacking the office of Tbilisi Pride and attacking dozens of Pride participants and journalists covering the event.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has detained two people in relation to the attacks on Lashkarava and another journalist, Miranda Baghaturia. The prosecutor’s office alleges that the detained individuals struck Lashkarava and Baghaturia with their hands, feet, and blunt objects.
Lashkarava was hospitalized following the attack and underwent surgery on his injuries which included facial bone fractures. He had been discharged from the hospital on Thursday.
On Sunday, thousands of people protested in front of Georgia’s parliament to demand the resignation of the country’s prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili, for enabling last week’s violence. Garibashvili had called on Tbilisi Pride to cancel the march prior to the event, saying that it was “unacceptable for a large segment of Georgian society.”
Georgia, like much of Eastern Europe, remains deeply conservative regarding LGBTQ+ rights. Although homosexuality has been decriminalized in Georgia, and the country has enacted some anti-discriminatory measures to protect LGBTQ+ individuals, conservative forces, including the orthodox church, remain staunchly anti-LGBTQ+.
A Pride march in 2019 had to be cancelled amid calls of violence. In 2013, a violent mob attacked marchers at an International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia event.