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Navalny LIVE hosts Yelena Malakhovskaya (second from right) and Ivan Zhdanov in the studio along with opposition leader Aleksei Navalny (left) and presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak (right)

Police in Moscow have detained an anchor of the Navalny LIVE online television channel over the May 5 antipresidential protest organized by opposition politician Aleksei Navalny, who is also the owner of the channel.

Yelena Malakhovskaya wrote on Twitter that police detained her near her apartment block on May 17.

A lawyer of Navalny's Anticorruption Foundation, Ivan Zhdanov, said that Malakhovskaya is accused of calling on people to attend the unsanctioned protest against President Vladimir Putin.

Malakhovskaya broadcast live the May 5 protests across Russia, during which police detained some 1,600 people, including Navalny.

The demonstrators came out two days before Putin's inauguration for his fourth presidential term.

In January, Navalny's press secretary, Kira Yarmysh, and the press secretary of his campaign, Ruslan Shaveddinov, were sentenced to several days in jail for broadcasting Navalny-organized rallies calling to boycott the March 18 presidential election, which Putin went on to win by a huge margin.

Georgian LGBT activists gathered on May 17 in Tbilisi, despite the threat of violence.

TBILISI -- Several dozen people have marched in the Georgian capital to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOTB), despite fears of potential clashes with opponents.

Police in Tbilisi were on high alert on May 17 even after an event commemorating IDAHOTB was canceled to avoid a confrontation with marchers expected to take part in a counterdemonstration supported by the Georgian Orthodox Church.

One of the LGBT demonstrations took place near the prime minister's office, where several dozen people held signs and chanted slogans against homophobia.

As LGBT supporters rallied, hundreds of Georgians marched in support of the church’s call for a rally on the “day of sanctity and strength of the family.”

Several minor clashes were observed by local media, but no major incidents were reported.

A police officer tackles a man who allegedly assaulted LGBT protesters in Tbilisi on May 17.
A police officer tackles a man who allegedly assaulted LGBT protesters in Tbilisi on May 17.

Earlier in the day, LGBT rights groups said they would hold only an online demonstration to mark IDAHOTB to limit the possibility of violence, even with police pledges to keep the peace.

LGBT Activist Attacked In Georgia
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“We have seen that there were would not only be peaceful demonstrators…but also illegal and out-of-control Nazi and neo-Nazi groups forcing the government to use unprecedented resources to stop hundreds of destructive citizens,” Equality Movement, a group dedicated to supporting the LGBT community in Georgia, said in a statement.

Neo-Nazis gathered in Tbilisi on May 17 to oppose International Day Against Homophobia,Transphobia, And Biphobia.
Neo-Nazis gathered in Tbilisi on May 17 to oppose International Day Against Homophobia,Transphobia, And Biphobia.

“Despite the fact that we have tried our best to avoid their activities, we were informed that they have coincided their rally with ours. We, LGBT activists, recognize all of the existing and real threats and took a difficult decision to cancel our rally,” the statement added.

The rallies followed several days of protests in Tbilisi by club-goers – many of whom are members of the LGBT community – who were upset over police raids at a nightclub on May 12.

Police said they were acting in response to a spate of recent drug-related deaths, but those at the raids characterized them as unwarranted and a demonstration of excessive force aimed at scaring those inside the club, especially members of the gay community.

Orthodox 'Family Sanctity' March Held In Georgia
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Wedged within the Caucasus at the crossroads between East and West, Georgia and its 3.7 million people have been caught in a cultural clash between liberal political forces and religious conservatives since it broke free from the former Soviet Union and began a series of social and economic reforms aimed at moving the country closer to the European Union.

While change on some fronts -- such as antidiscrimination laws -- has been lauded, the country has made little headway in developing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights.

Studies suggest that of all the minority groups in Georgia, homosexuals are under the greatest pressure -- with more than 80 percent of survey respondents expressing strong negative attitudes toward homosexuality.

Georgia ranked as the world's third-most homophobic country in the World Value Survey, with some 93 percent of Georgians saying they would be against the idea of having a gay neighbor.

Although homosexuality and gender change are legal in Georgia, society's view of the LGBT minority remains negative, with hostile attitudes toward gays strongly influenced by traditional stigmas, taboos, and values promoted by the Georgian Orthodox Church.

Five years ago, LGBT activists were severely beaten in Tbilisi after trying to hold a rally on May 17 against homophobia. Since then, gay-rights activists have not held an official demonstration in Tbilisi to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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