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In Tbilisi, special forces disperse protesters against foreign agents law

In Tbilisi, special forces disperse protesters against foreign agents law Photo: police pushing protesters away from the parliament building (photo from open sources)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

In the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Interior Ministry riot police have begun a violent crackdown on a protest against adopting the foreign agents law, according to NEWSGEORGIA.

The current action in front of the parliament began on Sunday, May 12, at 10 p.m.

There were no incidents during the protest for seven hours. The people gathered sang, and danced, and some students took out their notes and prepared for the exams.

Around 5 a.m. local time, buses with riot police began to arrive in the center of the parliament building. The law enforcement officers disembarked and began to disassemble their equipment, and three water cannons were set up on Freedom Square.

At 5:37 a.m., the Ministry of Internal Affairs demanded that the protesters clear the entrances so that MPs could pass.

At 6 a.m., riot police began to push protesters out of the side streets around the parliament.

Some protesters stood in front of the riot police and chanted "Long live Georgia". The other part of the action was concentrated directly in front of the parliament and at the back entrance.

A few hours before the dispersal of the rally in front of the parliament, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, called on the Interior Ministry to act according to standards higher than European and American ones.

Around 6 p.m., police and riot police began to squeeze protesters out of the upper streets and cleared the upper entrance. At 6:50 a.m., detentions began from Shio Chitadze Street.

Later, videos of riot police attempting to disperse the protesters appeared.

As for 7:10 a.m. cars with MPs began to enter the parliament.

In Tbilisi, special forces disperse protesters against foreign agents law


Protests in Georgia

In April, the Georgian parliament approved the draft law On Transparency of Foreign Influence in the first reading.

The purpose of the bill is to control and curb the activities of foreign non-governmental organizations involved in civil rights in Georgia.

The ruling party tried to approve the document a year ago, but it was withdrawn after mass protests. The text of the current bill is almost completely the same as last year's. The main difference is that the term foreign agent has been replaced by the organization operating in the interests of a foreign state.

The document is similar to the law that has been in effect in Russia for many years.

On April 30, on the eve of the second reading of the bill, thousands of people came to the center of Tbilisi to protest, during which there were violent clashes with the police.

Despite the protests, on May 1, members of parliament approved the document in the second reading.

On May 11, the European March took place in Tbilisi, which became the largest rally in the country's modern history.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili makes an emergency address amid mass protests.

On May 13, the law is scheduled to be considered in its final, third reading and voted on as a whole.