British Embassy Tbilisi shared statement on the recent events developing in Georgia. Pursuant to the statement, the "proposed law, if finally adopted, would impede the ability of Georgia’s friends and strategic partners to continue to assist its democratic and economic development."
"The UK shares the deep concern of our allies and partners following the expedited approval of the draft laws on “transparency of foreign influence” through parliamentary procedures yesterday.
The proposed law, if finally adopted, would impede the ability of Georgia’s friends and strategic partners to continue to assist its democratic and economic development.
The aims of this law – which according to public comments from leading figures appear to include deterring donor support and stifling legitimate CSO activity– go against the shared values and commitment to international standards we expect from a partner, and are counter to Georgia’s declared commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration.
We urge Georgia’s leaders to heed the concerns of civil society, independent media and international partners alike before proceeding further," the statement reads.
As a reminder, despite the ongoing protests and opposition of a large part of society, as well as the calls of international partners, the Georgian Parliament, at its plenary session on March 7, passed a Russian-style bill “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” in the first reading by 76 votes in favor and 13 against. The bill involves registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “agents of foreign influence” if they derive more than 20 percent of their income from abroad. Critics have drawn similarities to a Russian law that has severely restricted the work of civil society groups, NGOs, and media organizations there.
In response, a large-scale protest action took place outside the building of the Georgian parliament on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi on March 7. The police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds. Dozens of protesters were injured.
Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Georgia said that 66 people were detained.
Protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at police. According to MIA around 50 employees were injured, among them several required surgical intervention.
Today, demonstrators in Georgia have gathered for a second day of protests against the law on 'Transparency of Foreign Influence'.
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