Thousands of demonstrators collided with the security personnel in Georgia as disgruntlement burst over a Russian-like discriminatory legislation, labeling organizations receiving finance from abroad as “foreign agencies”, which critics warn could hamper the Black Sea republic’s prospects of joining the European Union.
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The authorities in Georgia fired tear gas, water cannons and stun guns at the thousands of demonstrators, compelling them to retreat, as they protested on Wednesday against the controversial Russian-like discriminatory law which was used to silence critics against the government.
Georgia’s Parliament on Tuesday evening gave initial support to the legislation, which critics say is inspired by a similar Russian bill and would require groups receiving more than a fifth of their funding from abroad to register as foreign agencies or face harsh interruptions and rigorous fines.
The development brought number of people to the Parliament in Tbilisi, where the security officials used tear gas, stun guns and water hoses on the protesters, some of whom later hurled stones and gasoline explosives on Tuesday and into early Wednesday. Country’s Home Ministry said it detained 56 protesters overnight for lawlessness and immortality.
Protest against the bill outside Georgia’s Parliament
On Wednesday evening, thousands of demonstrators returned, pacing through Tbilisi to Parliament shouting, “No to the Draconian bill.” nations demonstrators, who have accused the country’s administration of openly siding Moscow since its conflict with Ukraine, vowed daily outrage until the legislation is done away with. Outside the Parliament building, which was tightened after the brutal conflicts overnight, protesters gesticulated Georgian, Ukrainian, EU and U.S. flags.
Opponents, including the EU and U.S., criticizes the drafted legislation would compromise on liberty in the country. They pointed to the Soviet-era atmosphere of the alien land agent label and how Moscow, which ruled the country until the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, has used its alienating agencies legislation in presently to crush rebellions.
“We are familiar with the way this legislation works in Russia and we also know the repercussions it’ll face in here,” said, a municipal government worker in Tbilisi, as she waved a poster reading, “Down with the Draconian law!”. She further added, “We don’t want to witness another Soviet Union.”. “We want our days to be fruitful and pro European.”
Nodar, a director of the Shame Movement, a pro western group that promotes EU integration of Georgia, described Georgian Dream as a nexus party of Russia and said all of its developments are aimed at shoving the nation closer to Moscow and further from the West.
“They do not have the audacity to come out of their caves and say that they are Pro Russians and oppose the EU integration as they would suffer a heavy set back and a severe backlash from the citizens, so they are trying to keep us away from organizing demonstrations” he said. “They are leaving no stone unturned to wreck the efforts made bythe Governmente to integrate with EU.”, he further said.
Pro-West attitude among the Georgians
Pro-European attitude has created an intense atmosphere over the years in Georgia, which borders Russia and lost about 25% of its region to Moscow-backed rebels in a five-day war in 2008. More than 80% of the Georgian public favor joining the European Union, referandum showed.
Weeks after Russia instituted its invasion in Ukraine last year, Ukraine along with Georgia and Moldova, a fellow ex-Soviet nation, applied for EU membership. While Belgium granted Ukraine and Moldova immediate candidate status, it scorned Georgia, giving it a detail of amendments to initiate first, from mitigating the lurch of oligarchs to improving the independence of judiciary and reducing corruption.
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