Kelly Degnan on Pride Festival events: I think everyone will feel a lot safer in Tbilisi when these people, who are on video, are arrested and prosecuted

It was very sad to see people so filled with hate, using violence to prevent a peaceful private concert from occurring, especially when they claim to be acting in God's name, - US Ambassador Kelly Degnan said while commenting on the developments regarding the Pride Festival.

I just wanted to start with a comment on the events last Saturday at Lisi Lake. It was very sad to see people so filled with hate, using violence to prevent a peaceful private concert from occurring, especially when they claim to be acting in God's name. People may disagree about many things, but I think we can all agree that Christian values first and foremost are about compassion, love, about tolerance, about respect, about the fact that all people are created in God's image. We saw last year at the events that the police knew how to protect citizens and control protesters. I was assured the day before last Saturday's event by senior officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs that the protesters would not be allowed to break through the police periphery and that the protesters would be kept at a safe distance from the people attending the concert. None of that happened. We saw none of that. In fact, an unruly mob was allowed to walk for several kilometers through the streets of Tbilisi, calling for violence. They were allowed not only to breach the police perimeter, but to enter the site and vandalize, loot and destroy property with no response from the police.

It's very concerning to see what is a seemingly coordinated series of attacks on citizens in the streets of Tbilisi. The same extremists that we saw on Saturday were the same extremists that organized the violence in 2021. They are, on their Facebook sites, on videos, advocating, calling for violence, saying that they're gonna crush jaws and spill blood, walking through the streets of Tbilisi or threaten people with violence, and being proud to say they are for violence. I think everyone will feel a lot safer in Tbilisi when these people, who are on video, are arrested and prosecuted”, said the Ambassador.

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