Georgia: first protester detained for attacking police officer during 7 March rally against ‘foreign agents’ law

Georgian law enforcement officers have detained a suspect in a criminal case on attacking a police officer during yesterday’s protest rally against the “foreign agents” law, as per the website of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

It is claimed that the detainee was born in 2001. He faces from four to seven years of imprisonment.

The ministry also states that an investigation into “violent incidents” under the articles of Georgia’s Criminal Code on attacking a police officer and damaging or destroying property is ongoing.

Today, new protests against the “foreign agents” law erupted in the country. According to Paper Kartuli, around 5,000 people took to the streets for a women’s march in Tbilisi, the country’s capital. Sputnik Georgia reports that similar rallies are taking place in another ten cities of the country.

Earlier in the day, Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that 66 people had been detained during yesterday’s protest rally, they are accused of disorderly conduct and failing to comply with police officers’ orders.

On 7 March, Georgia’s Parliament approved in the first reading one of the two bills on “foreign agents”. It was supported by the ruling party Georgian Dream. A protest rally against the law took place in the centre of Tbilisi, in front of the parliament building. According to different estimates, 5,000-10,000 people took to the streets. The protesters tried to block the service entrance to the parliament.

The protesters threw Molotov cocktails and pyro towards police officers, they also set fire to the parliament building and broke windows, the ministry claims. Around 50 law enforcement officers received injuries.

The police used tear gas on the protesters and edged them out of the building. Then law enforcement officers began using stun grenades.

Georgia’s President Salome Zourabichvili came out in support of the protesters, recording a message from New York. “Georgia sees its future in Europe. And it won’t let anyone take that European future away. <…> From the first day, it was clear that I would veto this law,” she said.

The EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Josep Borrell said that the law on “foreign agents” contradicts Georgia’s goal of entering the European Union. Ned Price, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, stated that the US did not exclude the possibility of introducing sanctions against Georgia’s authorities.

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