“We must take care of the peace, tranquility and economic development of our country, as well as Georgia’s progress towards European integration. Therefore, we must devote the energy of all citizens not to confrontation, but to the development of our country in the right direction taking into account all this, and as a governing authority responsible to all members of society We have categorically decided to withdraw the bill that we supported,” the party announced.
Both sides believe that “certain forces” have succeeded in portraying the initiative negatively and convincing people that it is similar to Russian law, which can be interpreted as a rejection of the country’s European development path.
On Monday, the deputies accepted the bill in the first reading, which provided for the registration of foreign “agents” – the media, civil organizations and individuals who receive funding from abroad. If the law, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, were passed, it would have required all organizations that receive more than 20 percent of their operating costs from abroad to register as “foreign agents,” or else be subject to heavy fines.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibasvili had earlier expressed support for the law, saying that the procedures regarding foreign clients were in line with “European and international standards”.
The authors of the proposal claim that this is nothing more than a milder version of the law applicable in the United States. The opposition and Kelly Degnan, the US ambassador to Tbilisi, said earlier that the bill is very similar to the law in force in Russia and has nothing to do with US law.
The decision sparked massive protests in the capital, Tbilisi. On the first day of the demonstrations, more than sixty people were arrested. Fifty policemen were injured during the restoration of order. Protests continued in front of the parliament building on Wednesday night. Security forces used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the movement.
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