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Small LGBT Pride Rally Held In Tbilisi

A poster for this year's planned Pride Parade in Tbilisi, which was initially canceled before a small group of activists managed to hold a short rally in the Georgian capital.

TBILISI -- Activists in Georgia say they managed to hold a small gay pride parade in the capital, Tbilisi, on July 8.

Pride co-leader Giorgi Tabagari said on Twitter "Tbilisi Pride has finally happened."

"Smaller in numbers but we managed to get out safely. History in making!" he added.

About two dozen protesters, including human rights activists and members of the LGBT community, protested outside the Interior Ministry while holding signs and rainbow flags.

The rally lasted only 30 minutes amid reports that extremist groups were on their way to disperse protesters.

Earlier, organizers had said that the event had been cancelled.

Reports suggest the planned route of the march was leaked online, raising security concerns among members of Georgia's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Pride co-leader Giorgi Tabagari told journalists that the decision to cancel the parade was made after threats against would-be marchers.

"We will not hold our action near the Interior Ministry's building due to threats to members of our organization," Tabagari said.

Tabagari later said on Twitter that activists flew a rainbow flag over a protest by those opposing the pride event.

"We were not allowed to go out today for the Pride March, we flew the rainbow flag over homophobic protest in #Tbilisi," Tabagari said in a tweet that included a photo of the rainbow flag.

Georgia’s highly influential Orthodox Church had criticized plans by LGBT activists to carry out the march, saying in a June 14 statement that the LGBT lifestyle was a "sin" that goes "against the Christian faith, traditional religious teachings, and moral values."

The Pride March had been originally planned for June 22 but organizers postponed it after a violent police crackdown against anti-Russian political protesters in the capital.