Protesters in Georgia chant ‘No to the Russian law’
Islam News – Thousands of demonstrators marched toward Georgia’s Parliament yesterday, a day after a bill on “foreign agents” passed first reading. Critics say the measure would replicate legislation in Russia that has been used to restrict civil society.
Last night, a group of protesters tried to storm the government building, but were repelled by police officers who used water cannons, stun grenades and tear gas. On Tuesday, riot police officers had also used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a large rally in Tbilisi. Waving Georgian and European flags, the protesters chanted, “No to the Russian law!” as they walked down the main avenue in Tbilisi.
The country’s pro-Western opposition sees the bill as following the model of Russian legislation passed in 2012, pushing the country closer to Moscow and highlighting democratic backsliding. Under the measure, nongovernmental groups and media outlets that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from a “foreign power” would be required to register as “agents of foreign influence.”
What’s next: The bill, backed by the governing Georgian Dream party and the prime minister, was expected to be approved. The president said she would veto it, but the governing party has enough votes to override the veto.
Source: The New York Times