Several hundred Georgian opponents surrounded Parliament on Monday, April 15, 2024, in protest against the debates of the project known as the foreign agents law, promoted by the ruling Georgian Dream party, as police began arresting protesters.

“You are Russians! Police, take the side of the people!” the protesters shouted, while law enforcement officers were located in the side streets of Parliament and prepared water cannons to disperse them.

According to Georgian media, the Police detained several people, including the former deputy opposition Zurab Dzhaparidze, leader of the New Political Center-Girchi party.

Law enforcement officers detained those who tried to force their way into the side streets of Parliament amid cries of “No to Russian law!” and “Russian slaves!”, many of them young, and violently confronted the police.

The Georgian president, Salomé Zurabishvili, expressed her support for the protesters on the social network “special police troops with water cannons are ready to act against civilians defending their European future.”

“Arrests continue. Georgia will not undergo re-Sovietization,” he added.

The Legal Committee of the Parliament of Georgia began discussions of the controversial law under the presidency of the parliamentary majority leader, Mamuka Mdinaradze.

“There are no arguments to prove that it is Russian law, that it is a bad law,” he asserted.

During Monday’s sessions, tensions led to a attack by opposition MP Alexandr Elisashvili, from the Citizens party, who hit Mdinaradze, after which he was expelled from the headquarters of the legislative body.

Last week, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobajidze stated during a meeting of the Government of Georgia that the authorities “only know 18% of the sources and objectives of financing of non-governmental organizations in the country.”

“In view of this, we reintroduce the draft law on the transparency of foreign influence. In a democratic society there is no alternative to transparency. “The bill only provides for annual declaration of funding sources by NGOs and media,” he added.

Kobajidze noted that in March last year, when this bill was first introduced and sparked massive popular protests that forced the government to scrap it, “society was deceived.”

“They will not be able to deceive society a second time. “The lack of transparency is totally unacceptable to us,” said.

The opposition denounces that this legal norm could become an instrument to repress dissent, just as Russia does with a similar law.


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