Patrons of Kiwi Café, a vegan restaurant in the former Soviet country of Georgia, were attacked with an assortment of grilled meats, sausages, and fish by a group of vegan-hating neo-Nazis Sunday evening, the New York Times reports.
Customers were watching the cartoon Rick and Morty when a gang of anti-vegan “extremists” entered the restaurant wearing sausage links around their necks and refused to leave the premises. The men also began to smoke—which is against the rules in the café, and seen as a sign of disrespect—and became violent, throwing the food at the customers.
But beyond the anti-vegan sentiments, the patrons were also allegedly targeted because the restaurant represents a popular hangout for the LGBT community in Georgia’s capital city, Tbilisi.
"A majority of the country are pro-E.U. and pro-NATO. But Georgia remains a conservative country, the Georgian Orthodox church is very influential, and there is pushback against foreign influence,” Giorgi Gogia, the south Caucasus director at Human Rights Watch in Tbilisi, told the Times. “The Kiwi Café attracts hipsters, gays, people who are different, and they symbolize liberal Western values.”
The café seconded this idea, claiming in a statement to the Times that the same group of men had been asking around the neighborhood if the restaurant was a hangout for the LGBT community.
In the wake of the attack, the café posted a series of updates about the incident on their Facebook page, along with a drawing promoting equality.
“In spite of the situation and everyday negative attitude to us and other people, who visit us, [the] café is continuing to work and is ready to accept all [customers] regardless of nationality, race, appearance, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious views, etc.,” the post reads. “Equality is the most important thing for us. Animal liberation! Human liberation!”
[via New York Times]