Georgia riots, demonstrators reject Russian-style foreign agent bill


A demonstrator falls when shot by a water cannon during riots in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo/REUTERS

TBILISI – Thousands of protesters in Tbilisi clashed with police on Tuesday (7/3/2023) over a bill against foreign agents that critics say mimics Russian laws.

Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili supported the protests while visiting the United States (US).

According to local media reports, police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon against the protesters.

Woman holding an EU flag facing water cannon by herself. Happening now in #Tbilisi . Georgian people are out in the streets to defend the country’s European future amid ruling party’s adoption of Russian foreign agent law.

Georgia’s future will be European. #NoToRussianLaw

— Katie Shoshiashvili (@KShoshiashvili) March 7, 2023

Authorities said appropriate force was used after riot officers were attacked with incendiary projectiles.

Opposition activists accuse the government of wanting to pass a “Russian style” law on foreign agents, which requires any organization that receives more than 20% of its funding from abroad to register.

The Russian Act, which was enacted in 2012, is based on the American Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which was passed in 1938.

Journalist and podcaster Sopo Japaridze previously explained the government was actually considering two proposals, one specifically targeting foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the other which was of a FARA pattern and was “actually more dangerous because it is too broad.”

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