Carrying crosses, icons and flags, hundreds of Georgians marched through an increasingly Middle Eastern retail district in downtown Tbilisi on July 14 to call for an end to Muslim immigration.
Police, journalists and bystanders urged bewildered Arabs and Iranians to get off the street as a roaring crowd surged down Aghmashenebeli Avenue, a handsome tsarist-era thoroughfare, blasting patriotic songs via massive, car-mounted speakers. “They turned Tbilisi into one big brothel!” shouted activist Lado Sadghobelashvili, one of the leaders of the rally, billed as a “March of Georgians.”
Various ultranationalist groups took party in the rally alongside less demonstrative residents of the district. Despite the worries of many observers, the rally ended peacefully, except for a fistfight between two participants.
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