Georgian authorities used tear gas and water cannons outside the parliament building in the capital Tbilisi on Tuesday against protesters opposing a proposed law that some see stifling press freedom.
The law, which has received initial approval, would require media outlets and non-governmental organizations that receive more than 20% of their funding from foreign sources to register as “agents of foreign influence”.
International organizations have expressed concern about the bill, saying it goes against Georgia’s democratic development.
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Hundreds of people massed for days to protest the proposed law, and at one point a fight broke out between lawmakers. Russia’s state-run Tass news agency reported from Tbilisi on Tuesday that some protesters were injured.
While the president of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, said she would veto the bill, its authors say it is necessary for the transparency of the work of entities financed by representatives of foreign states. Parliament can override presidential vetoes.
In Russia, a foreign agents law is often used to shut down organizations and news outlets that report voices critical of the government. Georgian civilian activists and opposition representatives blocked both entrances to the parliament building, chanting: “No to Russian law!” “Russians!” “Slaves!”
The United States and the European Union have warned Georgia that adopting this law would damage its prospects for joining the EU and NATO.