Georgia to vote on controversial law that sparked mass protests

Georgia to vote on controversial law that sparked mass protests
Georgia to vote on controversial law that sparked mass protests

We show you our most important and recent visitors news details Georgia to vote on controversial law that sparked mass protests in the following article

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - TBLISI — Georgia's parliament is expected to give final approval to a controversial "foreign agent" law that has sparked weeks of mass street protests.

Critics of the governing Georgian Dream party say the bill — which they call the "Russia law" — could be used to threaten civil liberties.

Thousands of people are gathering near the parliament to protest the expected imminent passage of the law.

Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze has vowed the bill would pass.

On Monday, Kobakhidze also warned that if authorities backed down at the bill's third reading, Georgia would lose sovereignty and "easily share the fate of Ukraine", without detailing what he meant.

Massive rallies have gripped the Caucasus country for nearly a month.

Photos and footage posted online in recent days appeared to show violent altercations between protesters and police.

As she walked into the parliament building on Tuesday morning, President Salome Zurabishvili — an opponent of Kobakhidze — told the BBC she would veto the law. However, Georgian Dream has sufficient numbers in parliament to overrule her.

Under the bill — now due to go for its third and final reading — NGOs and independent media that receive more than 20% of their funding from foreign donors would have to register as organizations "bearing the interests of a foreign power".

They would also be monitored by the Justice Ministry and could be forced to share sensitive information — or face hefty fines of up to 25,000 GEL ($9,400; £7,500).

Protesters are concerned that the legislation would be used by the government to suppress its opponents, and derail Georgia's hopes of joining the European Union.

Parallels have also been drawn with an authoritarian bill which came into force in Russia in 2012, and which the Kremlin has since used to clamp down on dissidents. — BBC

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