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Georgia protesters demand withdrawal of proposed “Russian law”

  • April 16, 2024
  • 2 min read
Georgia protesters demand withdrawal of proposed “Russian law”

Thousands of people took to the streets in the Georgian capital Tbilisi demanding the withdrawal of a proposed and “foreign influence” bill. The protesters say that it is inspired by authoritarian laws in Russia that has been used to crush dissent.

“No to the Russian law,” the protesters chanted outside parliament while waving Georgian as well as EU flags. Past attempts from the government to introduce a “foreign agents” bill was abandoned in the face of mass street protests last year. But the government has announced that it would reintroduce the controversial legislation, renaming it a bill on the “transparency of foreign influence.”

“We are fighting for our freedom” said one protester outside the parliament as she held up a stick with the nation’s flag on it. “We want to have a bright future, and I think it’s the responsibility of every person who lives in this county to come out.”

The bill would require any non-governmental organisations as well as media outlets that receive more than a fifth of their funding from abroad to register as an “organisation serving the interests of a foreign power.” Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze defended the bill, saying that it is needed to ensure financial transparency of those receiving large amounts of money.

However, the opposition and independent journalists argue that it is an attempt to crush quell voices in the country, sabotaging any hope of EU membership. They say that it mirrors similar laws introduced by Vladimir Putin in Russia. The government has rejected such comparisons.

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