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In Georgia Altercations Occured During Foreign Law Talk

In Georgia, violent altercations occur during the contentious “foreign agents” legislation discussion.

Tuesday saw violent altercations between demonstrators and police in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia as the legislature began discussing a contentious “foreign agents” bill that opponents from both the West and the country described as authoritarian and Russian-inspired.

After being withdrawn last year amid a wave of protests, the bill—dubbed “the Russian law” by opponents because it bore similarities to laws the Kremlin employed to suppress dissent—was reintroduced for discussion by the ruling Georgian Dream party in Georgia

Rights groups have observed the bill, which would force organizations that take foreign funding to register as foreign agents or risk fines, and has drawn criticism from Western nations like the US and Britain and seen by rights groups as an attempt to curtail basic freedoms in the country.

“Second night of massive protest in Tbilisi Georgia against the Russian Law,” Georgia’s President Salome Zourabichvili said in a post on social media on Tuesday.

“Insistence of the authorities to push through this law against the will of the population and despite partners protest is a direct provocation – a Russian strategy of destabilization,” said Zourabichvili, who has vowed to repeal the law if it crosses her desk.

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A veto from the president might be overridden by the Georgian Dream party, which has been advocating for the legislation.

Heavy Protest: Georgia Oppose The “Foreign Agent” Law.

News organizations and activist Telegram groups circulated videos of riot police attempting to drive protesters out of the vicinity of the parliament. The footage showed police firing what seemed to be water cannons and snatching demonstrators by the clothes.

Tuesday’s altercations resulted in at least one injury to a ministry employee, according to a statement from the ministry.

If protesters “continue their illegal actions,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs will “administer special measures defined by law,” it warned. “Each illegal action will be followed by appropriate legal response from the police,” it added.

A day earlier, dramatic scenes played out within the parliament of the former Soviet nation. Georgian television showed opposition legislator Aleko Elisashvili punching Mamuka Mdinaradze, the leader of the Georgian Dream party, in the face. A larger altercation involving other lawmakers ensued.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have denounced the “foreign agents” law, saying if adopted, it would also “impose additional onerous reporting requirements, inspections, and administrative and criminal liability, including up to five years in prison for violations.”

The legislation is “incompatible with international human rights law and standards that protect the rights to freedom of expression and association,” Human Rights Watch warned.

This is a developing story and will be updated


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