After angry protests, Georgia withdraws the planned “agent bill”.


After fierce protests and international criticism, Georgia has withdrawn a controversial bill to create a registry for “foreign agents”. The government party Georgian Dream announced this on Thursday in the capital Tbilisi.

“We see that the bill has caused disagreement in society,” the party said. It was therefore decided to “revoke the bill without reservation”. Only on Tuesday, the parliament in Tbilisi approved the draft law “On the Transparency of Foreign Influence”, which officially aims to make money flows from abroad public, in first reading with a majority.

Critics feared that the Georgian provision could be modeled on a similarly worded law in Russia. There it is used to harass government critics. As the EU was also critical of the law, the predominantly pro-European Georgians feared for their country’s chances of becoming a candidate for EU membership.

Water cannon and tear gas against protesters
Thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against the “agent law”. A demonstration was dispersed by police on Tuesday night with water cannons and tear gas. Security forces also used violence against the demonstrators on Wednesday evening (see video above). According to eyewitnesses, people surrounded the parliament of the South Caucasus Republic and some also tried to enter the building. Police then deployed tear gas and water cannons.

Opposition politician Levan Khabeishvili called for protests to continue every day until the government withdraws the draft. The President of the ex-Soviet Republic, Salome Zurabishvili, addressed the demonstrators and assured them of their support. She will veto the bill if it passes parliament. Civil rights activists fear that passing the law will undermine Georgia’s democracy and worsen the country’s prospects for EU membership.

Zelenskyy “grateful” for protests
Support for the protesters also came from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He was “grateful” that the Ukrainian national anthem was played and Ukrainian flags were carried during the protests. “There is not a single Ukrainian who would not wish success to our friendly Georgia. democratic success. European success,” Zelenskyy said, according to Ukrinform agency. He is “certain” that Georgia, like Ukraine, will join the EU, like Moldova. “All the free nations of Europe deserve this.”

Source: Krone


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