The so-called protest in Georgia will revive the law of ‘foreign agents’ | Objections

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The ruling Georgian Dream party said the law would be passed before the parliamentary elections in October.

Pro-democracy groups have called for protests after Georgia’s ruling party said it would revive its controversial “foreign organizations law”. many shows forced it to fall last year.

The governing body Georgian Dream said on Wednesday that it plans to re-propose the law, which would require organizations that accept money from abroad to register as “foreign agents”. This measure is seen as dangerous for the general public and the free media.

Compared to opposition – including the EU-friendly president of Georgia – and the rules that Russian President Vladimir Putin used to end the conflict, the law would, if passed, require Georgian institutions to receive more than 20 percent of their income from abroad to register or meet the penalties. .

The announcement to revive the controversial law comes just over a year after the law was dropped under pressure from thousands of people in Tbilisi.

Protesters in the capital clashed with police, who fired tear gas and tear gas into the crowd, for several days in March 2023.

The European Union, which Georgia is seeking to join, also criticized the law last year and warned that it would target NGOs, media organizations and journalists that receive foreign funding.

In its statement on Wednesday, the Georgian Dream party said that following the protests, it has changed the wording of the law.

Under the new law, non-governmental organizations, journalists, and journalists must register as “foreign interest organizations” instead of “foreign agents”.

“All other parts of the draft law remain unchanged,” the party said.

The head of the parliamentary group of the Georgian Dream governing bloc, Mamuka Mdinaradze, added that the opposition parties misled the people about the laws last year.

He said the “foreign agents” law would be passed before parliament could vote in October.

The European way

Georgian Dream, founded by billionaire and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, has been the country’s ruling party since 2012.

Although it still expresses ambitions to take Georgia to the EU and NATO, in recent years, it has come under fire from domestic and Western critics of authoritarianism and closeness to Russia.

The revival of the “foreign workers” law is likely to spark further opposition and deep divisions in the country, and pro-democracy groups that organized last year’s protests were quick to announce demonstrations against the move.

“With all available options, we will face another Russian attempt in Georgia,” he said in a joint statement.

President Salome Zurabishvili, who is opposed to the ruling party, also condemned the move, saying it threatened to destroy Georgia’s democracy.

However, he also stressed that the country will not be removed from its European track record.

“Georgia’s European ways cannot be stopped… no one can bring back the past,” he said on television. “No Russian law, or any other destructive policy can prevent a determined country from achieving its goal.”

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