March 3 () –
Hundreds of people have demonstrated this Thursday in front of the Parliament of the capital, Tbilisi, against the reform of the law that seeks to regulate the “influence of foreign agents” in the country, the Ministry of the Interior confirms 36 detainees.
This is the Law on “Transparency over Agents of Foreign Influence”, criticized by opposition parties for its similarity to the law in force in Russia since 2012, which after being revised in 2022 tightened the existing regulations and put new pressure on the media. communication and NGOs.
This Thursday, before the revision of the draft of the norm in Parliament, hundreds of people have demonstrated at its doors, among them opponents and media workers. “36 people were arrested under the Code of Administrative Offenses on the basis of articles 173 and 166,” explains a statement from the Ministry of the Interior, collected by InterpressNews.
According to the OC Media portal, several members of Parliament have also been expelled from the premises during the hearing, including the leader of the United National Movement (MNU) opposition party, Levan Khabeishvili. It is the second draft approved of the regulation, which was discussed today with the Foreign Relations and Security and Defense committees.
A group of members of Parliament came together under the name of People’s Force, although they were previously part of the Prime Minister’s party, Georgian Dream, and presented the bill in February, which also has the support of the Government.
Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili vowed on Tuesday to veto the law if it finally passes the legislature, saying it is an “unacceptable” proposal that would alienate her country from Europe.
The proposed legislation also raises questions outside Georgian borders. The Diplomatic Service of the European Union warned last week that this project raises serious doubts in the EU: “Creating and maintaining an enabling environment for civil society organizations and guaranteeing freedom of the media is at the core of the democracy”.
He has also assured that he supports Georgia’s aspirations to join the EU, but “the approval of the bill would be incompatible with these aspirations and with the norms and values of the EU.”
The spokesman for the United States Department of State, Ned Price, also assured that the law “would stigmatize and silence the voices and critics of Georgians who are dedicated to building a better country for their fellow citizens, for their communities.”