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Georgian Journalists Honor Colleague Who Died After Being Attacked While Covering LGBT March

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The open coffin of Lekso Lashkarava -- surrounded by mourners and dozens of cameras of fellow TV journalists -- is carried through the streets of Tbilisi on July 13 during his funeral.

TBILISI -- Dozens of journalists have gathered to commemorate a Georgian television cameraman who was buried on July 13 after being viciously beaten while covering an LGBT event.

Lekso Lashkarava after being beaten.
Lekso Lashkarava after being beaten.

Lekso Lashkarava, 36, a cameraman for the Pirveli television station, was found dead at home on July 11, days after being attacked by an anti-LGBT mob while covering the Tbilisi Pride parade.

Lashkarava was buried at a cemetery in the capital, Tbilisi, in a somber ceremony attended by many of his fellow journalists, among others.

Journalists Honor Georgian Cameraman Who Died After Mob Attack
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Lashkarava's death has highlighted the sometimes violent animosity toward sexual minorities in the strongly conservative Caucasus nation, and sparked mass protests attended by thousands of people calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and his government.

Hundreds of Georgians gathered late on July 12 in front of Georgia's parliament in the capital, Tbilisi, and then went on to rally in front of the headquarters of the ruling Georgian Dream party. Some threw eggs and paint at the party headquarters. Twelve people were arrested.

Earlier in the day, a session of Georgia's parliament was disrupted after opposition journalists entered the building and scuffles broke out between members of the ruling Georgian Dream party and opposition parties.

The scuffles in parliament erupted after a noon deadline passed on July 12 for Garibashvili and his government set by protesters to step down over Lashkarava's death.

The session resumed more than an hour later after security officers managed to force the journalists and opposition lawmakers out of the building.

Anti-Government Protests Over Journalist's Death Continue In Tbilisi
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Earlier on July 12, Garibashvili, who has described the death as "a tragedy," accused the anti-government protesters of "conspiracy."

“This is another failed conspiracy against the state that was masterminded by anti-state and anti-church forces,” Garibashvili said at a government session earlier on July 12.

WATCH: Georgian Police Seize Corpse Of Journalist Injured During LGBT Protest

Georgian Police Seize Corpse Of Journalist Injured During LGBT Protest
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“They tried to use this man’s tragedy for achieving their political goals,” he added, noting four persons suspected in the attack on Lashkarava had been detained, stressing that "any type of violence cannot be accepted."

Lashkarava, 37, was one of nearly five dozen journalists and other media workers who were attacked on July 5 when hundreds of people took to the streets of Tbilisi to block a planned LGBT parade.

Two RFE/RL reporters were among those injured.

The chaos, which included mobs scaling the building where the organizers of the Tbilisi Pride parade have their headquarters, drew criticism from press advocates and foreign governments.

WATCH: Anti-LGBT Protesters Attack Journalists In Tbilisi, Force Organizers To Cancel Pride Event

Anti-LGBT Protesters Attack Journalists In Tbilisi, Force Organizers To Cancel Pride Event
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Many have squarely blamed Garibashvili, who, the morning of the scheduled parade, said it was inappropriate to hold the event because it would create a confrontation and was "unacceptable to a large segment of Georgian society.”

The Georgian Orthodox Church had also called on its supporters to gather against the Pride march.

Diplomatic missions from 18 countries and the European Union condemned the violence and called on the Georgian government to protect people’s constitutional right to peacefully gather.

With reporting by Rustavi TV and Interpressnews
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