Georgian ruling party withdraws ‘foreign agents’ bill after protests
Georgia’s ruling party said on Thursday (9 March) it was dropping a bill on “foreign agents” after two nights of violent protests against it amid criticism the draft was inspired by a Russian law and represented an authoritarian shift.
The bill would have required Georgian organisations receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as “foreign agents” or face fines. Georgian Dream had previously said the law was necessary to unmask critics of the Georgian Orthodox Church, one of the country’s most powerful institutions.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned on Tuesday the bill was a “very bad development” for the country and could seriously affect its ties with the EU.
EU condemns Georgia’s ‘foreign agents’ law as protest continue
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday (7 March) a Georgian draft law on “transparency of foreign influence” was a “very bad development” for the country and could seriously affect its ties with the EU.
The bill had angered supporters of Georgian membership in the European Union, and said it would complicate Georgia’s path to joining the bloc. Last year, the European Union declined to grant candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine, while it said Georgia had to wait, citing stalled political and judicial reforms.
Protests, fights break out in Georgian parliament over ‘foreign agents’ bill
Protesters on Thursday (2 March) disrupted committee hearings in the Georgian parliament on a controversial “foreign agents” bill backed by the ruling party, which critics have said represents an authoritarian shift in the country.
Some protesters threw petrol bombs, stones and plastic bottles at police. At least one window in the parliament building was broken, and a police car was overturned.
Police used tear gas, stun grenades and water cannon to disperse the crowds after several hours of protest. Georgia’s interior ministry said 77 people were arrested during Tuesday’s protest.