TV cameraman dies after right-wing mob turns violent at LGBTQ pride demonstration

Tbilisi, Georgia

A local news cameraman died in the nation of Georgia following a violent episode by a far-right mob protesting an LGBTQ pride demonstration.

Alexander Lashkarav, 37, worked for independent station TV Pivrveli. The outlet confirmed he was pronounced dead on Sunday after sustaining injuries at the Tbilisi event.

The Guardian reports Lashkarav was one of over 50 journalists identified by various hate groups leading up to the planned July 5 pride march. The event was eventually canceled due to security concerns, but that didn’t stop protesters from gathering in large numbers.

While no official cause of death was announced, Lashkarav suffered multiple fractures to his facial bones. Georgian interior minister Vakhtang Gomelauri has opened an official investigation into his death.

“What happened is a tragedy, and I send my condolences to the entire media community and to all of Georgia,” Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili posted to Twitter. “It must be investigated, and those responsible must be punished.”

“The government not only encourages violence against journalists, it is part of the violence,” criticized Nodar Meladze, TV Pirveli’s news editor, per The Guardian.

Many have accused the government of adding fuel to the fire by caving to the hate groups and canceling the event.

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

“Riot police have also repeatedly targeted journalists,” he added.

A June 2019 incident at an anti-government rally left 40 journalists injured after right-wing counter-protesters attacked.