Two Georgian Orthodox Priests Charged With Antigay Violence

TBILISI -- Two Georgian Orthodox Church clerics have been charged in connection with antigay violence that broke out last week in Tbilisi.

The Interior Ministry announced on May 23 that one priest at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Antimoz Bichinashvili, and another at the Ioane-Tornike Eristavi Monastery, Iotam Basilaia, have been charged with using or threatening the use of force to hinder the right to demonstrate or assemble.

Thousands of antigay activists, including Orthodox priests, attacked dozens of people preparing to mark International Day Against Homophobia on May 17.

At least 17 people were injured.

Four men who took part in the incident were found guilty on May 21 of hooliganism and fined 100 laris ($61) each.

The European Union office in Tbilisi said it "was dismayed by the scenes of brutal intolerance and violence."