WORLD – GEORGIA
66 demonstrators were detained and 50 police officers injured after violent clashes erupted in central Tbilisi against the government’s plans to pass a controversial “foreign agents” law, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.
“An appropriate legal assessment will be given by the ministry to the actions of all those who organised and facilitated the escalation of a peaceful protest into violent action,” the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The demonstration came after Georgian lawmakers earlier on Tuesday gave initial approval to the draft law “On Transparency of Foreign Influence,” which resembles Russian legislation on combating foreign agents.
The law requires media and non-governmental organisations receiving more than 20 per cent of their funding from foreign sources to register as “agents of foreign influence”.
During the protests, civic activists and opposition representatives blocked both entrances to the parliament building, chanting “No to Russian laws!”
International organisations expressed concern over the bill, saying it was contrary to the development of democracy in Georgia.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili expressed support for the demonstrators and promised to veto the bill.