Authorities in Georgia dropped the Law on "Foreign Agents" after Mass Protests

World | March 9, 2023, Thursday // 09:19|  views


Georgia's ruling "Georgian Dream" party and the country's government have announced they are withdrawing the draft law on "foreign agents," which has sparked tensions in the country and fears of undermining democracy and pluralism.

This came after two consecutive nights of protests against two separate bills on the subject, one of which was said to be inspired by an analogue in Russia, and the next a copy of another in force in the United States. Both are obstacles on Georgia's path to the European Union, after it was denied candidate status last summer due to a lack of reforms.

The text of the former was adopted at first reading on Tuesday, when the excitement continued late into the night. Last night, the demonstrators gathered for an even bigger protest and stormed the parliament again, but were dispersed by special forces.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also addressed the demonstrators, thanking that the Ukrainian national anthem was played in the center of Tbilisi and wishing "democratic success, European success" to Georgia.

The withdrawn bill, according to "Rustavi 2" TV, is the already adopted "On the Transparency of Foreign Influence". The vote on the second, "On the registration of foreign agents", was supposed to be today and its fate is unknown.

The bills were introduced by a new movement that describes itself as opposition, but follows the ruling line, albeit with a prominent anti-Western course. "We see that the adopted bill caused disagreements in society. The machine of lies managed to present the draft law in a negative light and mislead a certain part of the population," said a statement by "Georgian Dream" and the new movement that broke away from it "The Power of the People".

The two organizations insist that the text has nothing to do with Russia. However, media and non-governmental organizations have warned that they will not comply with it and register as it is a first step towards stigmatizing and silencing civil society. Among the slogans of the demonstrators was "No to the Russian law".

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Tags: Georgia, Law, protests, Russian


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