Georgia’s ruling party withdraws controversial “agent” law
Tbilisi In Georgia, after massive protests, the ruling party is withdrawing its plans for a similar Russia envisaged agent law back. The ruling party, the Georgian Dream, said on Thursday that it would withdraw the draft law on so-called foreign agents unconditionally and without any reservations. This should reduce the “confrontation” in society.
According to critics, the law would have moved the country away from the European Union and closer to Russia. The project provided for organizations that receive at least 20 percent of their financial resources from abroad to be classified as foreign proxies. In addition, they should then be placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice. Draconian fines were provided for violations.
The withdrawal of the plans was preceded by two nights of violent protests after parliament initially approved the law on Tuesday’s first reading. Tens of thousands of Georgians then gathered in front of the parliament, and some demonstrators threw petrol bombs, stones and plastic bottles at police officers. The police used tear gas and water cannons. According to the Georgian Interior Ministry, 77 demonstrators were arrested on Tuesday.
Critics saw parallels in the draft law to a similar law introduced in Russia in 2012. For them, the plans were for Georgia to slide into an autocracy. They also feared that the law would reduce their chances of joining the EU and the Nato would sink. In February, more than 60 media outlets and civil society organizations said they would not abide by the law should it come into force.
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