In Tbilisi, the police use gas and water cannons to disperse protesters against the law on “foreign agents”: the parliament adopted it in the first reading

76 deputies voted for the adoption of the document, against – 13. The document, submitted to the parliament by the People’s Power movement, was supported by members of the ruling party “Georgian Dream”.

Voting on the second version of the bill will take place on Thursday, March 9. This version, unlike the one adopted on Tuesday, March 7, applies not only to legal entities, but also to individuals, and also provides for criminal liability.

According to Paper Kartuli, five to ten thousand people are protesting at the Parliament of Georgia in the center of Tbilisi. Clashes between protesters and the police were recorded, as a result of which the security forces used tear gas and water cannons.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia stated that the action had acquired a “violent character”. It is reported that ambulances are being sent to the center of Tbilisi to provide medical assistance to protesters who were injured by tear gas.

The initiative was criticized by many media and the opposition. They believe that the authorities are trying to adopt the Russian experience of fighting “other agents” and create a repressive mechanism in the country.

After the approval of the documents in the first reading, it is planned to send them to the Venice Commission. The European Union stated that the adoption of such laws is incompatible with the implementation of the recommendations for Georgia to receive the status of a candidate for the European Union, with the norms and values ​​of the European Union.

Today on the streets of Tbilisi

The USA also expressed serious concern. Thus, the US embassy in Georgia issued a statement regarding the discussion by the country’s parliament of laws on “foreign agents.

“Today is a dark day for Georgian democracy. The Georgian parliament’s discussion of laws inspired by the Kremlin is incompatible with the country’s aspiration for European integration and democratic development. Adoption of the laws will harm Georgia’s relations with its strategic partners who help their fellow citizens [унутры краіны]. The draft law and its active discussion call into question the ruling party’s readiness for Euro-Atlantic integration,” the US Embassy said in a statement.