Georgia: The controversial "law on foreign agents" was adopted, new protests and a fight in the assembly

Critics have previously warned that the law, which they say is inspired by authoritarian legislation used by neighboring Russia to quell any rebellion, could threaten civil liberties in Georgia

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Despite several weeks of protests, the Georgian parliament adopted the controversial "law on foreign agents".

The president of Georgia could veto it, but the parliament can override it with an additional vote.

Critics have previously warned that the law, which they say is inspired by authoritarian legislation that neighboring Russia uses to quell any rebellion, could threaten civil liberties in Georgia.

In Georgia, protests have been going on for days because of this law, and on Tuesday, May 14, thousands of people gathered in front of the assembly building to put pressure on the deputies.

In the tense atmosphere inside the parliament, there was a physical and verbal confrontation between pro-government and opposition MPs. Watch the clip.

The day before the vote in the assembly, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobahidze warned that if the authorities give up on the third reading, the country will lose its sovereignty and "easily divide the fate of Ukraine", without specifying exactly what he meant.

President Salome Zurabishvili, a political opponent of Kobahidze, briefly told the BBC before entering the parliament building that she would veto the law.

However, the Georgian Dream party, which has been in power for 12 years, had enough votes in parliament to pass the law.

While the MPs were debating the bill, it was tense in front of the assembly and there were clashes between demonstrators and the police.

According to the law, which was adopted with 84 votes for and 30 against, non-governmental organizations and independent media that receive more than 20 percent of funds from foreign donors will have to register as organizations "representing the interests of a foreign power."

They would be monitored by the Ministry of Justice and could be forced to share sensitive information or face hefty fines of up to 25.000 Georgian lari (€8.700).

DAVID MDZINARISHVILI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Protesters are worried the government could use the law to stifle dissenting voices.

Parallels are being drawn with the authoritarian bill that came into force in Russia in 2012, which the government has since used to marginalize voices critical of the Kremlin, including prominent cultural figures, media organizations and civil society groups.

Irakli Gedenidze/Reuters

Opposition parties worry that such a law would divert Georgia from the desired EU membership, which was granted candidate status in December 2023.

The EU warned that the proposed law could jeopardize the country's further progress within this bloc.

Mass protests on the streets of Tbilisi, the capital of this country, have been going on for almost a month. which you can read about here.


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