Thousands protest at Georgian ‘foreign agent’ bill
Written by Olarotimi Oshin on March 8, 2023
Protesters have clashed with police in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, after parliament backed a controversial draft law which critics say limits press freedom and suppresses civil society.
Riot police used water cannon and pepper spray to disperse the crowds outside the parliament building.
Some protesters were seen falling on the ground and coughing, while others waved EU and Georgian flags.
The government says several policemen were hurt and police gear was damaged.
There has been widespread international condemnation of the bill, which would require non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and independent media who receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad to declare themselves as foreign agents.
The opposition described it as a Russian-style law that would stigmatise and clamp down on Georgia’s vibrant civil society and independent media.
Russia passed its own version of a “foreign agents” law in 2012, expanding it over the years to target and suppress Western-funded NGOs and media.