World News

Georgia approves controversial law that sparked mass protests

  • By Rayhan Demytrie in Tbilisi and Emily Atkinson
  • BBC News

Legend, The protests have now become a daily sight in Tbilisi and show little sign of stopping.

Georgia’s parliament passed a controversial “foreign agents” law that sparked weeks of mass protests.

However, the bill now faces a likely veto from the Georgian president, which Parliament can circumvent by holding an additional vote.

Critics previously said the bill – which they call “Russian law” – could be used to threaten civil liberties.

Thousands of people gathered near parliament to protest against the decision.

On Monday, Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze warned that if authorities backed down on the third reading of the bill, Georgia would lose its sovereignty and “easily share the fate of Ukraine”, without specifying what he meant.

Thousands of people gathered Tuesday morning near the Georgian parliament to protest the imminent adoption of the law.

Protesters heckled police – dressed in full riot gear – who were guarding the side entrances to the building. The atmosphere was also tense within Parliament, with physical and verbal altercations between pro-government MPs and opposition MPs.

As she entered the parliament building, President Salome Zourabichvili – an opponent of Mr Kobakhidze – told the BBC she would veto the law.

However, Georgian Dream has enough members in Parliament to overturn it, and there is no doubt that the legislation will pass.

Under the terms of the bill – which passed its third and final reading on Tuesday – NGOs and independent media that receive more than 20% of their funding from foreign donors would have to register as organizations “carrying the interests of a foreign power “.

They would also be monitored by the Ministry of Justice and could be forced to share sensitive information – or face hefty fines of up to 25,000 GEL ($9,400; £7,500).

Protesters fear the legislation could be used by the government to repress its opponents. Parallels have also been drawn with an authoritarian bill that took effect in Russia in 2012 and which the Kremlin has since used to suppress dissidents.

Opposition parties say the law could harm Georgia’s bid to join the European Union (EU), which granted it candidate status. The EU has warned that the bill could undermine further progress within the bloc.

News Source :
Gn world

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