Sausage-wielding mob attack vegan cafe
Tbilisi is seeing a rise in nationalism. Source: Wikimedia
A vegan cafe in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi has appealed for public solidarity after being invaded by sausage-wielding nationalists.
Around 15 men ran into the Kiwi cafe, staff claimed, shouting and throwing meat at customers. A fight erupted but the gang fled before the police arrived. The cafe said police officers, when they eventually arrived, behaved aggressively, “yelled with anger, said that we are guilty of what had happened”. Some staff were even detained for interrogation.
The cafe said it was intimidation by neo-Nazis. “A group of people who prepared an anti-vegan provocative action, entered and started to be violent,” said cafe posted on Facebook. “They pulled out some grilled meat, sausages, fish and started eating them and throwing them at us, and finally they started to smoke. They were just trying to provoke our friends and disrespect us.”
The cafe said that it called the police, but that the raiders left first and no one was apprehended. Observers were unsure if it was a violent prank, a revolt against veganism or part of a nationalist attack against the western liberal values epitomised by the Kiwi cafe.
“The way we look, music that we listen to, ideas we support, and the fact that we don’t eat meat” and backing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) causes had attracted criticism, the cafe said.
“During these hard times you can support us just by visiting our cafe, we will be very grateful if you come to show everyone that here are a lot of us who care about the issue!” Kiwi posted on Facebook.
There is growing concern about the rise of far-right Georgian nationalism. Last week, hundreds of demonstrators marched through central Tbilisi, waving the national flag and anti-communist banners to celebrate independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Homophobia is commonplace in Georgia, with a high-profile case in 2013 when LGBT activists were attacked by a large mob led by an orthodox priest.
They “were neo-Nazis… who support fascist ideas”, the cafe claimed. Some minor injuries were reported.