Vegan Cafe in Georgia Attacked by Far-Right Nationalists
On Sunday, a group of right-wring nationalists attacked Kiwi-Cafe in Tbilisi, Georgia. Kiwi Cafe is a vegan non-profit cafe that opened in July 2015 and offers lunch, dinner, coffee and drinks, and hosts events.
Georgia Today reported that according to witnesses, about 15 people entered the cafe during a film screening and made a scene before insulting the patrons, cafe staff, and throwing animal products at them. The cafe published a statement in Georgian, English, and Russian to describe what happened in detail, and stated that it was a planned anti-vegan attack. It reads:
“Yesterday in Kiwi, during the movie screening, a group of people who prepared an anti-vegan provocative action, entered and started to be violent…They came into the cafe speaking and laughing loudly and didn’t care when we asked them to be quiet and not to disturb the people who came to watch the film…They pulled out some grilled meat, sausages, fish and started eating them and throwing them at us, and finally they started to smoke.”
The staff then asked the group, who they called neo-Nazis, to leave the cafe, but they reportedly refused, instead insulting and mocking the customers and workers, sarcastically asking “where is the love?”. After attempting to push the group outside, fights broke out on the street, with neighbors joining in and going against the cafe staff, reportedly due to their alternative appearance and lifestyles:
“Locals took the side of fascists just because in their view we are “different”. They started to say we are guilty not only of this conflict, but also because we broke their so-called peace – peace of watching TV and eating sunflower seeds. They said we must leave “their” street, leave the country, do not “establish our procedure”, because in Georgia it’s not accepted to act like we do.”
According to both the post and the Georgia Today article, the police blamed the cafe staff for what happened, and witness Nono Antidze elaborated in an online post:
“Because most of the staff, and a lot of the guests, have piercings and mohawk hairstyles, the police thought they were they ones responsible for the incident. We can only hope that there were some working surveillance cameras (in the area). When they see those videos, they will know what happened.”
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has stated that an official investigation has not yet been launched but that staff and witnesses have been questioned. To read the full statement by the Kiwi Cafe, visit this link.
Photo Credit: https://kiwicafetbilisi.wordpress.com