On November 9, Georgian police arrested more than 20 people who had, on Friday, tried to disrupt the screening of movie based on gay love in the capital Tbilisi. A group of a few hundred people had gathered in front of the cinema before the first screening of film “And Then We Danced”. The ultra-right mob attacked and blocked several people who had come to see the movie, which is based on the love story of two young male Georgian ballet dancers. Directed by Levan Akin, the film was premiered at the Cannes film festival in May 2019, and has won several awards and critical acclaim at festivals around the world.
According to reports, two policemen and one woman were injured in Tbilisi, and incidents of violence were also reported from city of Batumi. Consevative groups, under the instigation of far-right politicians and a section of the Orthodox Church, were responsible for disrupting the screening of the movie as they deem homosexuality to be against Georgian values.
Meanwhile, Georgian LGBT activist group, Tblisi Pride, and other progressive sections of society have condemned the homophobic attacks at the cinemas.
Following the incident, director Levan Akin said on social media, “I feel so much pride that none of the theaters backed down or cancelled any of the scheduled and sold out screenings, but stood in solidarity with the it. The Georgian audience finally got to see the film. This fight is far from over and I am so inspired and moved by all the brave movie goers who stood their ground and would not be intimidated.”
Conservative and homophobic groups had threatened the LGBTQ community in Georgia earlier in July as well, against organizing the country’s first ever pride parade. In response, LGBTQ activists had staged a protest in Tbilisi on July 8, against the threats made by the right-wing conservatives groups, along with the government’s inaction on the issue.