Vegans Shocked As ‘Far-Right Extremists’ Enter Tbilisi Cafe Wielding Sausages

Anne Sewell

It happened in Tbilisi, Georgia, when a group, described as "far-right extremists" targeted a vegan cafe after ominous slogans appeared in the streets.

Reportedly, a group of more than a dozen men entered the vegan Kiwi Cafe wearing sausages around their necks and carrying skewers of meat and fish and began attacking diners and staff.

— Katie Feenan (@katieefeenan) May 31, 2016

According to a report by Radio Free Europe, the Kiwi Cafe described the incident in a statement on their Facebook page on Monday, saying it was an "anti-vegan provocative action." The restaurant accused the attackers of being "neo-Nazis" who support "fascist ideas." The incident reportedly happened during a movie screening at the cafe.

According to the statement, which is included below and contains an English translation, the incident started when the group entered 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."

The men then pulled out the grilled meat, sausages, and fish and began to alternatively eat the meat and throw it at the customers and staff in the cafe.

Reportedly, Kiwi Cafe is a non-smoking area, but the group then started to smoke cigarettes. Staff then asked the group to leave, saying they didn't want to provoke a conflict over their behavior.

However, the group reportedly began yelling and laughing, talking to customers and staff sarcastically, saying things like, "Why are you so aggressive? What about love?" and generally showing disrespect for the attitude of vegans.

It was witnesses to the attack who described the group as being "far-right extremists," and reportedly the incident spilled out onto the street outside when the attackers were asked to leave. There were only minor injuries in the altercation, and the attackers fled before police arrived on the scene.

In the statement, the cafe also alleges that members of the same group had been seen in the neighborhood a month earlier. Reportedly, they had asked a shopkeeper in the area whether foreigners or members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community frequented Kiwi Cafe.

The cafe, which has been running for a year, has become a popular venue for foreigners visiting the city. Staff were screening English-language episodes of the animated sci-fi sitcom Rick and Morty at the time the attack occurred.

— Marc Van Ameringen (@MarcVanAm) May 31, 2016

As reported by the Guardian, three days prior to the attack on the cafe, there was a march by right-wing nationalists timed with the Georgia Independence Day celebrations. With the latest incident, many Tbilisi residents are now concerned the violence in the cafe could mark the emergence of organized political actions by Georgian ultra-nationalists.

Reportedly, during that march through Tbilisi, the group carried banners bearing the anti-foreigner slogan "Georgians for Georgia."

It is still unclear whether the meat assault on the vegan cafe was merely a prank that went wrong and became violent or was part of organized political actions by Georgian nationalists spurred on by the Independence Day march.

Whatever the cause, Kiwi Cafe has said they will remain open for business and "ready to accept all customers regardless of their nationality, race, appearance, age, gender, sexual orientation, or religious views."

According to Radio Free Europe, if the incident is taken out of context with the recent march in Tbilisi, the attack could be dismissed as being backlash from a social media rant against "anti-carnivorous vegan rhetoric in Western counterculture." Reportedly, the rant was a reaction of a trending and humorous YouTube clip dubbed "If Meat Eaters Acted Like Vegans." That video is included at the end of this article.

However, with the recent unrest in the former Soviet Republic, and taking into account the angry nature of the violence at the cafe, the incident can likely be taken in a much darker context.

[Image via Facebook]

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