Georgian parliament rejects foreign agents bill in second reading amid mass protests

The Parliament of Georgia has rejected the bill on ‘foreign agents’ that caused mass protests in the country recently. A total of 35 MPs objected to the bill in the latest session, while one backed the initiative, Rustavi 2 reports.

The bill was scrapped yesterday from the parliament amid mass protests. Pavel Chikov of Agora, a human rights group, noted that according to the Parliament’s regulation, a bill adopted in the first reading cannot be scrapped, but rather either not put to vote in the second reading or rejected by a majority vote.

“There is a risk that the initiators of the bill might wait out until the public outrage is over, and then try to adopt it anyway,” Chikov said.

On 7 March, Georgia’s Parliament approved one of the two bills on “foreign agents” in the first reading. 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 police used tear gas on the protesters and edged them out of the building. Then law enforcement officers began using stun grenades.

Protests continued through 8 and 9 March. All protesters who had been detained for committing administrative offences were released, the country’s Interior Ministry reported yesterday.

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