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Georgian Citizens Protest Against “Foreign Agent” Bill

On this Tuesday - 7 March 2023 - thousands of people gathered on the streets of Georgia to protest against a newly passed “Foreign Agent” Bill. Protesters in Georgia feel that the law is going against their civil liberties. Many have been chanting a slogan - “No to the Russian law”. Hundreds of protestors have been spotted carrying EU, Ukrainian, and Georgian flags. Polls circulated have found that over 85% of all Georgian nationals support integration with the EU, with some protestors even going as far as throwing rocks at police officers, destroying barricades, and even throwing petrol bombs at security forces and police officers. 


The President of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili, supported the protestors with a Facebook live video. In the video, Zourabichvili stated, “the path of European integration must be protected. Those who support this law today, and all those who voted for this law today are violating the Constitution. All of them are alienating us from Europe.” However, in Georgia, the ruling dream party can overrun a Presidential veto if the dream party has the parliamentary majority. Zourabichvili has stated that if the Bill ever crosses her desk, she will immediately veto it. 


Over 60 people have been reportedly arrested and the government has reported that 50 police officers have also been injured. Many protesters have also been injured by tear gas, high-powered water cannons, and police brutality.


The Bill enacts a new law that labels news organizations and non-governmental agencies as “foreign agents” if they receive more than 20% of their funding from outside of Georgia. The problem with this is that the people believe that it is moving the government away from ever joining the EU. Instead, it is pushing towards a more authoritarianist government. EU Foreign Policy Chief warned Georgia that this could potentially hurt their entrance into the European Union. The bill also pushes Georgia farther away from ever becoming allies of the West. 


Historically, the term “foreign agent” is just another way of labeling someone or something as a “traitor” or a “spy”. In 2012, Russia passed a similar law that labeled foreign media as “foreign agents” and restricted Western-funded media. If any Western media source failed to label themselves as “foreign agents”, they could face hefty fines and even imprisonment. 


The US embassy in Georgia responded to the news and claimed that “today is a dark day for Georgia’s democracy”. They also claimed that the Parliament's advancements of these “Kremlin-inspired” laws, it goes directly against the people of Georgia and their need for European integration and future democratic development. Finally, the US Embassy in Georgia states that pursuing these laws in Georgia will only hurt the hard work of many Georgian organizations working to help their fellow citizens. 

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Tags: #Protests #Georgia #Georgia Protests #World News #Foreign Agent #New Bill

1 comment

2 months, 4 weeks ago by ketitatuashvili16

Thanks for gaining awareness about my countries ongoing issue! It means a lot for us! #Georgia🇬🇪

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