Ultra-nationalists attack vegan cafe in Tbilisi, Georgia
Ultra-nationalists attack vegan cafe in Tbilisi, Georgia

A vegan restaurant in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, called for calm Tuesday, after sausage-wielding attackers described by witnesses as angry ultra-nationalists stormed the facility during a movie screening and threw meat at its patrons.

The Kiwi Cafe described the incident, which occurred late Sunday, in multiple languages on its Facebook page. 

Calling the attackers neo-Nazis, the posts said the assailants had been asking neighbors about the restaurant for weeks, seeking to learn if it was a haven for foreigners or if patrons were members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender community.

"They [the attackers] pulled out some grilled meat, sausages [and] fish and started eating them and throwing them at us, and finally they started to smoke," the post said. "They were just trying to provoke our friends," it said, adding that some of the attackers wore sausage around their necks as fighting broke out.

Employees were quoted as linking the attackers to the nationalist skinhead group Georgian Power. But Monday, the organization denied involvement.

The restaurant account said police arrived at the scene "and they started to blame us, although we were the victims of an absurd and unintelligent provocation by fascists."

Some observers have linked the restaurant fracas to a new round of culture wars between young people seeking to draw closer to Western Europe and its lifestyles, and conservative Georgians trying to resist Western cultural influence in the former Soviet bloc country.