Activists against religious animal slaughter arrested in Tbilisi
Clashes erupted between animal rights activists and police during a protest on Saturday against religious animal sacrifice in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
Two protest organizers were briefly detained outside the Georgian parliament.
The protest took place on Lomisoba Day, an ancient Georgian holiday, which is usually accompanied by a mass slaughter of sacrificial animals.
“It’s an annual protest, we’ve been doing it for 7 years and we’ve never had any problems with the police,” Nini, one of the rally’s co-organizers, told JAMnews.
Several protesters, including members of the Vegan Georgia movement, staged a performance depicting activists slaughtered as hundreds of animals at Lomisoba and other religious festivities in Georgia.
The protest was originally scheduled to end with a march to the Georgian Patriarchate before being interrupted by police officers.
“We have warned the protesters on several occasions that if they go [to the Patriarchate building] they will almost certainly clash with religious groups, whose feelings they will offend. We cannot protect them. They didn’t listen, so we decided to arrest the organizers,” one of the officers at the scene told JAMnews.
Mass animal sacrifice is an integral part of Lomisoba and other local festivals. Certain obligatory rituals are performed before animals are slaughtered, including the russeting of the hair behind the animals’ ears and on their bellies.
The slaughter of sheep, chickens and cows is supposed to grant all wishes and bring well-being to Georgian families.