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Georgians protest outside parliament against 'Russian law' on foreign agents

1 min

Several thousand protesters rallied outside Georgia's parliament on Tuesday, denouncing government plans to resurrect a bill requiring groups funded from abroad to register as foreign agents, which they likened to Russia's suppression of dissent.

People take part in a protest against a draft law on "foreign agents" in Tbilisi, Georgia April 9, 2024. Reuters/Irakli Gedenidze

Several thousand protesters rallied outside Georgia's parliament on Tuesday, denouncing government plans to resurrect a bill requiring groups funded from abroad to register as foreign agents, which they likened to Russia's suppression of dissent.

The ruling Georgian Dream party announced last week it intends to bring back the bill, which it abandoned last year after violent protests.

The legislation would require organisations receiving more than 20% of their funding from overseas to register as "agents of foreign interests", wording similar to a law enacted in Russia under President Vladimir Putin.

Demonstrators marched through central Tbilisi, shouting slogans against "the Russian law". Russia, which invaded Georgia in 2008, is widely unpopular there for its support of the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Georgian Dream rejects the comparison between its bill and Russia's, and says it is necessary to combat foreign influence.

The rally coincided with a Georgian public holiday, marking the deaths of pro-independence protesters at the hands of Soviet troops in 1989.

The law has been criticised by the United States and European Union, which gave Georgia membership candidate status in December. The Kremlin has defended it.

Reporting by Felix Light

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