Riots erupted in the country of Georgia as protesters from the right-wing group Georgian March organized a demo demanding that footballer Guram Kashia be kicked off the national team for wearing a rainbow armband in support of gay rights.
The armband was in support of rights for the LGBT community and formed part of the country’s larger ‘Coming Out Day’ initiative.
In response, dozens of protesters gathered to march outside the Georgian Football Federation in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, shouting homophobic epithets, lighting flares and smoke bombs, and burned a rainbow flag.
Everyone has the right for freedom of expression,” Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said in a statement on Facebook on Monday.
“We should respect human rights and liberties. I stand with the unanimous support that sporting society has expressed toward Guram Kashia,” he added.
The AP AP reported that eight people were detained for resisting police and minor hooliganism, and they were due to appear in court on Wednesday.
Kashia told Dutch TV channel NOS he is proud to support equal rights and he has no intention to stop playing for Georgia.
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