Protests as Georgia’s parliament approves divisive ‘foreign agents’ bill

Protests as Georgia's parliament approves divisive 'foreign agents' bill

Protests have broken out after Georgia’s parliament approved the divisive “foreign agents” bill.

The legislation is seen by some as threatening press and civic freedoms and there are concerns it’s modelled on laws used by President Vladimir Putin in neighbouring Russia.

The proposed law would require media and nongovernmental organisations and other non-profit groups to register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20% of funding from abroad.

Demonstrations engulfed the country for weeks ahead of the final reading of the bill on Tuesday.

Critics see it as a threat to democratic freedoms and the country’s aspirations to join the European Union.

The bill is nearly identical to one that the governing Georgian Dream party was pressured to withdraw last year after street protests.

A protester told Sky News it is “absolutely insane that a country like Georgia has accepted this bill as it’s a complete violation for our future”.

The medical student said the bill “makes us more far away from Europe and the rest of the world”, while bringing it closer to the Russian government.

Another protesters said: “Our government is a Russian government, we don’t want Russia, Russia is never the way, I’m Georgian and therefore I am European.”

One demonstrator added that they had been trying to protest “peacefully” but they were now “feeling anger, pain and disappointment that again in our history there is a government that goes against our wishes”.

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