Thousands rallied in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Tuesday to denounce attacks on the LGBTQ community and journalists that shocked the nation and forced activists to cancel a Pride march.
Pride events are still controversial in the conservative country where the Orthodox Church has previously clashed with Western-leaning governments over social issues.
On Monday, LGBTQ activists called off a Pride march as violence broke out shortly after Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili denounced the event.
Hundreds of anti-LGBTQ protesters including activists from a small pro-Russian party removed an EU flag outside parliament and attacked journalists in several parts of the city.
On Tuesday evening, thousands gathered outside parliament to denounce the violence, which sparked condemnation from the United States and the EU.
Many at the silent demonstration waved EU and rainbow flags, the police putting up a cordon to protect them.
Dozens of stone-throwing anti-LGBTQ protesters were arrested after trying to break through police barriers, an AFP correspondent saw.
"We can't tolerate any form of violence targeting minorities in this country," 48-year-old demonstrator Lili Chumburidze, an art historian, told AFP.
"Homophobia doesn't belong in the 21st century."
Another demonstrator, 20-year-old student Lasha Bigvava, said: "We are here to tell the government that human rights must be ensured for everyone."
Garibashvili has faced strong criticism from the opposition and rights activists after he spoke out against holding the Pride march, describing it as "unacceptable for a large segment of Georgian society".
On Tuesday, prominent Georgian TV personalities and managers accused the government of orchestrating a violent campaign against journalists.
"Garibashvili has set up violent squads to target independent, critical journalists and political opponents," TV presenter Eka Kvesitadze told AFP.
Rights groups have expressed concern over media freedom in Georgia, claiming independent TV stations are under pressure.
Pride organiser Giorgi Tabagari told AFP he suspected the secret agents had directed Monday's attacks.
Critics have accused the ruling Georgian Dream of tacitly supporting homophobic and nationalist groups.
These groups are seen as supporters of the ruling party and have staged protests against pro-Western opposition parties.
Western embassies issued a joint statement on Monday criticising the "failure of the government leaders and religious officials to condemn this violence".
Georgia decriminalised homosexuality in 2000 and adopted anti-discrimination laws in 2006 and 2014.