Police in Georgia arrested 10 gay-rights activist that painted the words 'All love is equal' (translated) outside the Georgian Orthodox Patriarch's office in Tbilisi to mark international celebrations against homophobia. The group were held early in the morning as they used stencils to write the slogan on the building's fence.
They are facing a series of charges including vandalism and disobeying police orders and appeared before a local court later on Tuesday (17 May 2016) – the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). The date carries a particular significance for the LGBT community in the deeply conservative southern Caucasus nation, since attendees of a gay pride rally in 2013 were attacked by a rioting mob.
The anti-gay protesters were led by a number of clergymen, including one wielding a wooden stool that later became a symbol of the violence. A year later, Georgian Patriarch Ilia II, who has described homosexuality as a "disease", called a Day of Family Strength and Respect for Parents on Tuesday to counter IDAHOT celebrations.
In 2016, the World Congress of Families a coalition of socially conservative organisations opposing same-sex marriage has been invited to hold its 10th convention in Tbilisi in concurrence with IDAHOT. An LGBT activist placed a painted a stool with rainbow colours outside the hotel hosting the conference, which was reportedly removed by police.