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Georgia's Parliament passes foreign agents bill: Massive protests engulf capital city

Georgia's Parliament passes foreign agents bill: Massive protests engulf capital city Photo: the law on foreign agents was voted in Georgia (Getty Images)

A controversial bill on foreign agents was voted on in Georgia's parliament. Currently, mass clashes are ongoing in the capital, particularly near the parliament building, reports NewsGeorgia.

Currently, in Tbilisi, particularly near the parliament building, there are mass clashes between protesters and law enforcement over the controversial law. Reports indicate there have been arrests.

Many students and representatives of various movements have taken to the streets protesting against the adoption of the bill On Transparency of Foreign Influence.

The situation inside the parliament itself wasn't any better, as mass clashes between lawmakers erupted amid plans by the ruling party to pass the respective bill.

Ultimately, despite collective efforts from delegates from the US and EU, the Georgian parliament voted to adopt the controversial bill with 84 votes in favor and 30 votes against.

Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Kabakhidze, explained the necessity of passing the Transparency of Foreign Influence law during a meeting with US State Department representative James O'Brain and expressed readiness to deepen relations with the US "on fair terms."

It's worth noting that such actions were actively endorsed by the Kremlin. Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, already labeled the attempts by Western delegates with Georgia's leadership as "pressure."

What preceded

In April, the Georgian parliament approved in the first reading a bill titled On Transparency of Foreign Influence, aimed at monitoring and restraining the activities of foreign non-governmental organizations dealing with civil rights in Georgia.

It's worth noting that the ruling party attempted to pass a similar bill last year. However, it was withdrawn after mass protests. Nevertheless, this did not yield the expected results, as the text of the bill passed this time was nearly identical to the previous one. The main difference was the term foreign agent, which was replaced with organization acting in the interests of a foreign state.

It's important to mention that this document is essentially similar to a law that has been in place in Russia for many years. At the same time, it effectively prevents the country from joining the EU, where such laws are considered human rights violations.

In light of this, on April 30, on the eve of the second reading of the bill, thousands of Georgians took to the streets of central Tbilisi in a protest rally, during which violent clashes with the police occurred.

However, despite this, on May 1, parliamentarians approved the bill in the second reading.

On May 11, the European March took place in Tbilisi, marking the largest protest in the country's modern history.

President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili issued an emergency address amidst the mass protests.

And just yesterday, the Legal Affairs Committee of the Georgian Parliament swiftly supported the controversial bill on foreign agents in its third reading.