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Another demonstration in Georgia, with fifty thousand protesting in the pouring rain against a Russian-style foreign agents law

Another demonstration in Georgia, with fifty thousand protesting in the pouring rain against a Russian-style foreign agents law

May 11, 2024 – 9:45 pm

Tens of thousands demonstrated in Tbilisi on May 11 against the Foreign Agents Law – Photograph: Irakli Gedinidze/Reuters

Anna Panati

About 50,000 people demonstrated in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, on Saturday, to protest the foreign agents law. According to critics, the bill is modeled on Russia, which the government will use to silence critical voices. The march took place a day after Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze announced that despite protests from “misguided” youth who feel angry against Russia, the government would move forward with the bill. Eyewitnesses who spoke to Reuters said that the demonstration It was peaceful. a France 24 report The demonstrators were not bothered by the heavy rain, and waved the flags of Georgia and the European Union and chanted the country's name.

This is not the first move in this regard: a series of demonstrations have been continuing in the country for about a month. At the end of April, thousands also demanded the repeal of the law, and then the police acted brutally against the demonstration, using tear gas and water cannons.

If passed, the Foreign Agents Act would require media outlets and NGOs that receive more than 20% of their financial resources from abroad to register as powerful foreign agents or face heavy fines. At the demonstration at the end of April, pro-EU demonstrators chanted that they did not want the Soviet regime, that they should say no to Russian-style laws, and yes to Europe.

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The Georgian parliament, controlled by the Dream Party and its allies, will begin committee hearings on the third and final version of the bill on Monday. The United States, the European Union, and the United Nations also opposed this legislation. The country is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections at the end of the year.

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