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Tbilisi Simmers: Protests Against “Foreign Agent” Bill Enter Fourth Week

TBILISI, GEORGIA – May 13, 2024 – Tensions remain high in Tbilisi, Georgia, as protests against a controversial “foreign agents” bill enter their fourth week. The legislation, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, has sparked widespread anger and accusations of democratic backsliding.
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Echoes of Russia’s Crackdown?

Opponents argue the bill, which requires NGOs and media outlets receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad to register as “foreign agents,” bears an unsettling resemblance to laws used by Russia to silence dissent. Critics fear the legislation could be used to stifle critical voices and restrict media freedom in Georgia, a country with a young but vibrant democracy.

A City Divided: Protests and Clashes

Thousands of Georgians have taken to the streets since mid-April, braving tear gas and water cannons to voice their opposition. While the protests have been largely peaceful, there have been some reports of clashes with police.

International Community Raises Concerns

The international community has also weighed in, with the UN, EU, and US expressing concern about the bill. The US Department of State urged Georgia to “halt the passage of the legislation” and engage in “constructive dialogue” with civil society.

Stalemate or Turning Point?

Despite the protests and international pressure, the Georgian government shows no signs of backing down. On May 11th, the parliament passed the second reading of the bill, defying calls for its withdrawal.

This has left many wondering: will the protests continue to escalate? What are the long-term implications for Georgia’s democracy?

Uncertain Future for Georgian Dream

While the Georgian Dream party currently holds a majority in parliament, the sustained protests could have significant consequences. Public anger could translate into a loss of support in future elections, potentially leading to the party’s downfall.

What Lies Ahead?

The situation in Tbilisi remains fluid. The coming days and weeks will be crucial in determining the ultimate outcome of the protests and the fate of the bill. Gagua Group will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available.

Stay Informed:

  • Follow reputable news sources for updates on the protests.
  • Engage in respectful discussions about the issue with friends and family.
  • Consider contacting your local representatives to express your concerns about the bill.

Together, we can help ensure Georgia’s democratic future.

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