Georgian cameraman dies after attack by far-right, anti-LGBTQ mob

A Georgian TV cameraman has died after being badly beaten by far-right assailants during a protest against an LGBTQ Pride march, his station said on Sunday, as pressure mounts on authorities over attacks on journalists.

Alexander Lashkarava, a 37-year-old cameraman working for the independent station TV Pirveli, was found dead in his bed in the early hours on Sunday, the channel reported.

Last Monday he was assaulted by a violent mob of anti-LGBTQ protesters and sustained fractures to his facial bones.

多于 50 journalists were attacked that day by anti-LGBTQ groups protesting against the planned Pride march in Tbilisi, which was cancelled due to safety fears.

Reporters Without Borders (无国界医生组织) condemned the attacks, saying journalists “sustained injuries that included concussion, chemical burns and broken arms”.

It accused authorities of “culpable passivity” and said police had failed to protect journalists.

Georgia’s interior ministry said in a brief statement on Sunday that an investigation had been opened into Lashkarava’s death.

Rights activists announced a protest rally later on Sunday to demand the resignation of the prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili.

Prominent Georgian TV personalities and managers have accused Garibashvili’s government of orchestrating a violent campaign against journalists.

“The government not only encourages violence against journalists, it is part of the violence,” Nodar Meladze, TV Pirveli’s news editor, 告诉法新社.

“The government has set up violent groups to attack independent media,“ 他说, 添加: “Riot police have also repeatedly targeted journalists.”

在六月 2019, riot police injured 40 journalists covering an anti-government protest.

Garibashvili has faced strong criticism from the opposition and rights activists after he spoke out against holding the Pride march, describing it as “unacceptable for a large segment of Georgian society”.

Critics have accused the ruling Georgian Dream party of tacitly supporting homophobic and nationalist groups, which have also staged protests against pro-western opposition parties.