A Georgia journalist has lost his life days after he was brutally beaten by anti-LGBTQ protesters.
Aleksandre "Lekso" Lashkarava, a cameraman for TV Pirveli, was among the journalists attacked by anti-gay extremists in the country's capital Tbilisi earlier this month. The mob disrupted pro-LGBTQ group Tbilisi Pride's plans to host a March for Dignity on July 5, raided their office, and started violently targeting activists and journalists on the scene.
The LGBTQ march was called off due to safety concerns after the violence. Police said that more than 50 journalists had been attacked, according to a Reuters report.
Lashkarava spent three days in the hospital getting treated for his severe injuries, and also underwent surgery for broken facial bones. He was able to return home on Thursday, but his coworker who was with him during the attack revealed that he still "complained of severe pain." On Monday, Lashkarava's mother discovered him dead in his bed. The police have not yet disclosed the official cause of his death.
Lashkarava's death has sparked citywide outrage with demands to hold the violent protesters accountable. Hundreds of protesters gathered in Tbilisi to call for the resignation of prominent Georgia officials for failing to protect their citizens. A criminal investigation has been launched into his death, while 20 people have been detained in connection to the demonstration.
Meanwhile, members of the media have accused Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili of orchestrating the violent attack on journalists, according to BBC News. Garibashvili, along with his Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri and State Security Service Chief Grigol Liluashvili, have been facing widespread criticism for their alleged role in enabling the attacks.
Tbilisi Pride also released a statement about the events that occurred at its office on July 5, and said, "the ongoing actions of the government have shown yet again that they are not willing to fulfill their direct responsibilities."
The organisation's head, Giorgi Tabagari, said that he believes the State Security Services may have been assisting anti-gay protesters throughout the day. Tabagari revealed that they had privately changed the location of their march five times during the day, but anti-Pride protesters had arrived at the locations ahead of them every single time.