‘Foreign agents’ bill withdrawn from Georgian parliament following mass protests

The bill on “foreign agents” has been withdrawn from the Georgian Parliament, as per a joint statement by the ruling party Georgian Dream, the parliamentary majority, and the People’s Power movement.

Georgian citizens have been taking to the streets to protest the bill over the last several days.

“We see that the approved bill has led to discontent among the public. The machine of lies was able to present the bill in a negative light and mislead a part of the population. The bill was falsely labelled as a ‘Russian law’, while its approval in the first reading was presented as a departure from the European course in the eyes of a part of the public.

“Furthermore, radical forces were able to involve part of the youth [of the country] to commit unlawful actions. We thank heroic employees of law enforcement who reacted to the violence patiently and in accordance with the highest standards,” the statement reads.

On 7 March, Georgia’s Parliament approved in the first reading one of the two bills on “foreign agents”. Afterwards, mass protests erupted in the country. Georgia’s President Salome Zourabichvili came out in support of the protesters, recording a message from New York, while the EU Foreign Affairs High Representative Josep Borrell said that the law on “foreign agents” contradicts Georgia’s goal of entering the European Union.

There were clashes between protesters and police officers. According to the estimates of a correspondent for Russia’s news agency Interfax, in the early hours of 9 March several hundreds of protesters were still in the centre of Tbilisi; they were trying to set up barricades from the means at hand.

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