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Georgian Parliament withdraws from controversial law on “foreign agents”



The opposition of the Georgian opposition and the European Union

After mass protests, Georgian lawmakers rejected the second reading of a controversial “foreign agents” bill that critics say resembles a Russian law used by the Kremlin to silence opposition and critics.

After the ruling Georgian Dream party withdrew its support for the bill, parliament rejected the bill in a second reading today by 35 votes to one. On Tuesday, he accepted it in the first reading and started mass protests, during which there were clashes with the police on Tuesday and Wednesday, who used tear gas and water cannons against the protesters.

The law required NGOs and independent media that received more than 20% foreign funding to register as “foreign agents”.

The Georgian opposition and the European Union oppose the law, as they see it as a means of restricting the activities of the media and non-governmental organizations, following the example of a similar law passed in Russia in 2012. Many also fear that the law could jeopardize Georgia’s bid for EU membership.

After the protests, the ruling Georgian Dream party announced on Thursday that it would withdraw the bill. Despite this, the opposition parties announced the continuation of the protests due to the lack of assurances “that Georgia is firmly on the pro-Western path”.

More than 30,000 people gathered again in the capital Tbilisi on Thursday evening for the third consecutive demonstration. Many speakers called for early parliamentary elections, while some urged the government to adopt reforms to move the country forward on its path to the EU. Several of the government’s measures, such as the law on “foreign agents”, have raised doubts about maintaining pro-Western efforts, and the opposition accuses it of supporting Moscow.

Georgia, a former Soviet republic that was defeated in a brief war with Russia in 2008, is officially seeking to join the European Union and NATO.

Source: Rtvslo

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