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Neo-Nazis storm Georgia vegan cafe

Elizabeth Schumacher
May 31, 2016

A cafe in Tbilisi has accused extreme nationalists of attacking their patrons with grilled meat and starting a brawl. The vegan restaurant said in a statement that they have long been the target of right-wing ire.


A vegan cafe in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi asked the public for support on Tuesday after being terrorized by sausage-wielding neo-Nazis, according to the restaurant management. The Kiwi cafe posted an explanation of the incident, which occurred on Sunday night, in multiple languages on their Facebook page.

A group of far-right extremists came into the premises during a movie screening and began eating and throwing grilled meat and fish, the cafe wrote. They were asked politely to exit the building, but "they didn't leave and started yelling, laughing, and talking to us sarcastically."

Kiwi cafe said that the neo-Nazis had been asking neighbors about them for weeks, and whether it was a haven for the LGBT community, punks and foreigners. According to their statement, the vegan restaurant had already been the target of neighborhood ire because of "the way we look, music that we listen to, ideas we support, and the fact that we don't eat meat."

Cafe: Police blamed us

The cafe claimed this attitude led locals to join the neo-Nazis when a brawl broke out. The police were called, but the crowd had dispersed by the time they arrived. The officers themselves were also aggressive, the statement said, and they even took in some cafe staff for questioning.

Officers told cafe workers that they were "guilty of what had happened."

Kiwi wrote that the men who started the violence were members of the so-called Bergmann movement, which may take its name from a group of Georgian soldiers who fought for Germany in World War II in a unit called the Bergman Battalion.

Observers have voiced concern over the upswing in nationalism and anti-LGBT sentiment in Georgia. Just last week, hundreds of thousands of people participated in a nationalist march in central Tbilisi. Earlier in May, the Georgian capital hosted the annual summit of the World Congress of Families, a conservative Christian forum that opposes LGBT rights and abortion.

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