March 27, 2023

Balkan Travellers

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Police dispersed thousands of protesters who gathered in Tbilisi against the controversial law

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the Georgian capital on Wednesday against a bill targeting media and NGOs.

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Georgian police on Wednesday 8 March dispersed tens of thousands of people protesting against a bill targeting media and non-governmental organizations in Tbilisi. Authorities ordered demonstrators gathered in front of parliament to disperse, then used gas and water cannons, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

Flags of Georgia and the European Union were waved. “No to Russian law!”The crowd, invited by several NGOs and opposition groups, chanted in reference to the bill, which was adopted by Georgian representatives on Tuesday in the first reading.

A text similar to Russian law

The text provides that companies receiving more than 20% of their funding from abroad are obliged to register“Foreign Agents”subject to penalty. He recalled a similar law adopted in Russia in 2012 and used by the Kremlin. Suppress the media and opposition organizations or simple critical voices.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday “Democratic Victory” For the protesters. For their part, the United States called on the Georgian authorities to respect ““Peaceful Struggle”. The former Soviet republic, marked by a war against Russia in 2008, aims to join the European Union and NATO. However, recent government actions have cast doubt on these aspirations.